Eczema Herpeticum

Do you have eczema?
Are you going through TSW or PW?
Have you ever had a cold sore?

If yes to these tree questions, this post is for you.

You may have never heard of Eczema Herpeticum (EH). The British Association of Dermatologists defines EH as 'a widespread, potentially serious infection of the skin that can affect people with atopic eczema'.  The cause of EH is herpes simplex, which is the same virus that causes cold sores.  I understand EH as more severe version of cold sore.

We, eczema sufferers, need to be careful as we are more susceptible to EH.  But dealing with the EH is actually a lot easier than TSW.  I got EH in 2008 and was hospitalised for 2 weeks. And, I would like to share with you my experience and the treatment I was given. I made some mistakes in the initial treatment of EH. So, hopefully by reading my story, you won't make the same mistake. And, if you should ever get one, you know what to do.

Alright, here is my story.

At the second month into my first TSW/PW, I noticed a bunch of small blisters on my face. I thought it was just a normal withdrawal reaction, so ignored them at first. A few days later, I started thinking that there was something weird about those blisters. They were spreading too aggressively and too quickly. I had fever as well. I went to see a GP after waiting for a week to get my appointment (*my first mistake, shouldn't have waited so long).  I was diagnosed with EH, and prescribed with antibacterial cream. I applied the cream, but the next morning it was spreading even more.  I felt that my EH was too severe to treat with just the cream.  So, I went back to the doctor.  As soon as the GP saw me (a different GP from the day before), she started making arrangements for my hospital admission. 

During my stay at the NHS hospital, I was given a private room to avoid any contacts with other patients because EH was highly contagious. I wasn't allowed to leave the room at all. I was injected with antiviral twice a day. Nurses put a thick layer of moisturiser on my face during the injection. I also took anti-histamine tablets and anti-allergy tablets. I was worried if they were going to make me use TS. This never happened, as TS had adverse effects to herpes virus.

After 2 weeks, my EH was all cleared without a scar. To my surprise, my eczema and withdrawal symptoms disappeared too at this point. That means my first TSW/PW only took me about 2 months to heal up. I still don't know why my eczema and withdrawal reaction went away with EH. I can only guess that the antivirals did something to it. I've got before/after photos : a day before I was hospitalised (April 2008) and one month later (June 2008).

Note: The before photo is pretty graphic:

You may think that taking only 2 months to recover from TSW was very lucky. Not really. After my first TSW/PW and EH, I was traumatised. Here comes the next problem - I became addicted to the antiviral tablets (*my second mistake). When I left the hospital, I was given several boxes of Aciclovir 400mg.  I took two tablets daily. When I was about to run out the Aciclovir, I went panic. I managed to get more Aciclovir from my GP and kept taking them for 6 months. After I finally stopped, I got all flared up which was my second rebound. 

So, here are somethings I learnt from dealing with my EH:

1. If you think you got EH, go to your doctor (or A&E if severe) immediately. They know what to do and won't use TS on you.

2. When treated correctly, EH will simply go away. I found EH a lot easier to deal with compared to TSW.

3. If you have a minor cold sore, you don't generally need to see a doctor. Just use behind-the-counter drugs like Zovirax and it usually goes away within 2 weeks.

4. If you have EH or cold sore and worried about scars, don't worry. Strangely, they never leave any  scars afterwards no matter how severe they are.

5. If you are an adult and get cold sore for the first time, the symptoms may become severe including fever etc.

That is it for today! x


  1. Do you mean antibiotics or antivirals?

    1. Antibiotics. That's what they always said they prescribed. Having said that, I just googled and find that Aciclovir is antiviral. I'm not sure if they mixed something else with Aciclovir (or if it's even possible).

  2. Hello. Thanks for your blog. I developed EH after a month in TSW around my eye and I was so scared to go to the doctor because I thought they would give me steroids. I was praying so hard and God led me to use tea tree oil and wash with anti bacterial soap. And Praise God after 2 weeks it went away. I hope this will help others.

  3. Hi

    Eczema herpeticum is most commonly caused by Herpes simplex 1 and 2, but it can also be caused by other viruses such as coxsackievirus.

    Both persons who have herpes simple virus, and persons who have skin conditions such as eczema, or any other skin condition which damages the skin can get eczema herpeticum. It may also occur in persons with normal skin.

    It most commonly occurs on the face and the neck, and very rarely occurs throughout the body, even though this can happen.Very rarely it will affect multiple organs and is rarely fatal. In addition as long as the condition is picked up quickly there is adequate antiviral treatment, as well as other treatment, so person affected by the condition, do not usually need admitting to hospital.

    You should be aware that any one can get this very rare disease, so evne your girlfriend van get it. However, the emphasis is on rare, so bear that in mind. You do not have to be afraid to be with your girlfriend, just be careful not to have contact ith the open herpes vesicles.

    It is also useful to know that people tend to have outbreaks of herpes simplex when they are stressed. If there are stressors in your girlfriend's life, then it may be worthwhile identifying these and seeing what can be done to relieve her stress.

    Also, I guess from your comment that you and your girlfriend have discussed this concern of your. This situation could also be causing her stress, and cause her to have more regular breakouts of herpes simplex. Stress is also not good for persons suffering from eczema, since it can bring on flare ups.

    It would be good for you and your girl friend to educate yourselves about this, so that you can objectively see that this is rare. Also do not put too much pressure on yourselves, and relax and have fun. Decreased stress levels will be good for both of you.



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