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