Eczema and Skin Infections: The Basics
By Debbie (Bio below)
Eczema is a relatively common problem that causes skin inflammation. It is also sometimes referred to as “dermatitis.” There are many types of eczema, but they all tend to cause similar symptoms. These symptoms include intense itchiness, and the scratching may cause damage to the sufferer’s skin. Eczema can also cause scaling, making it look rough and scaly. The skin might get red and even bleed. In severe cases, fluid-filled blisters form, eventually crusting and oozing. Finally, someone with eczema might find their skin develops deep, painful cracks. Eczema, though, is a very treatable condition and these symptoms can be reduced and repaired.
Types of Skin Infections Common for Eczema Patients & How To Recognize Them
Eczema is not an infectious disease. However, the damage it does to the skin can leave it vulnerable to infection. Below is some information about the types of skin infections common to sufferers of eczema.
- Bacterial infections: Most sufferers of atopic eczema will have a bacterium called Staphylococcus aureus on their skin, even if there are no signs of infection. According to National Eczema Association “It is likely that people with atopic eczema have an impaired ability to deal with infection. In addition, as we know all too well from practical experience, eczema itches and the natural response to itch is to scratch. This in turn causes the skin to crack and split and become red and inflamed, warm and moist – a perfect home for bacteria.”
- Viral infections: The most common viruses for eczema sufferers are herpes simplex or cold sore virus. Herpes simplex is very contagious and may show itself in the form of genital inflammation or conjunctivitis in the eye. For child atopic eczema patients, molluscumcontagiosum is another risk. It appears as small red bumps and can become red and crusted – but that means the body is fighting against it.
- Fungal infections: Candida or “thrush” is a yeast infection commonly referred to as a fungal infection. It can appear on people’s skin that do not have eczema as well. Candida infections usually occur in warm, moist areas of the skin, like in the groin or in a baby’s diaper area.
Diagnosing and Treating Infection with Conventional Medicine
Many professionals like dermatologists and their nurses can spot an eczema infection just by looking at it. Patients that have already had infections can often spot new ones as well. Outside of these two groups of people though, most people cannot spot the signs and symptoms of infection. And even trained doctors will likely take a swab from the skin to send to a laboratory to confirm their hunches. If you think you might have an infection, go see your doctor and find out.
If you do have an infection, a conventional doctor will prescribe a treatment based on the kind of infection that you have. Staph for example is usually treated with topical steroids or bath oils with antiseptic. More severe cases may also be prescribed a cream or ointment. For viruses, some patients may be prescribed antiviral drugs like acyclovir, which can be taken orally, by injection, or topically as a cream. Candida infections can usually be treated with a cream available by prescription or through an over the counter purchase.
Natural Methods for Treatment (Jennifer’s addition)
Although there are limited studies proving any sort of infection can be treated via natural means, there are some remedies that have been traditionally used for centuries with success. But keep in mind with infections or suspected infections, they can turn from mild to severe very quickly. So, it’s best to be under the care of a physician if an infection is suspected. Below are some ingredients that may help with more mild infections. Many of these ingredients are found in topical creams like our Manuka Honey Skin Cream and especially those formulated for diaper areas and angry skin rashes like Emily’s Diaper Soother and the EczeHerbal Formula #1 and #2. Formulas with ingredients such as these can be helpful in preventing infection to begin with along with vinegar bathes. Just keep in mind to diligently watch the infection and remain under a physician’s care.
- Tea tree oil or manuka oil
- Honey (raw, non
- Neem oil
- Rosemary Oil
- Lavender Oil
- Zinc (non-nano partical is safest)
- Oregano Oil (mostly for fungal infections, like yeast)
Take a look at these natural infection fighters for#eczema http://www.itchylittleworld.com @eczemacompany
Do you have any at home remedies you use to prevent infections from occurring in the first place? If so, please share them with us!
Bio: Debbie spends her time writing health and beauty articles. She also reviews Advanced Dermatology, experts in acne clearing procedures. When she has some free time (which isn’t often) she cuts loose with a good book and a glass of wine.