Who Needs Antibiotics For Skin Problems
You need antibiotics only if you have signs of a skin infection. These may include:
- Bumps filled with pus
- Cracks and sores that ooze pus
- Wound that oozes pus or has yellow crusts
- Feeling very hot or cold
- High white blood cell count
- Crusts the color of honey
- Very red or warm skin with other signs of infection
- Wound that is red, painful, swollen, or warm
When Infections Cause Eczema Blisters
People with eczema are more prone to infections because burst blisters or damaged, raw skin can be a breeding ground for bacteria, fungi, or viruses, says Amy Kassouf, MD, a dermatologist with the Cleveland Clinic in Twinsburg, Ohio.
One particularly dangerous infection is called eczema herpeticum the result of atopic dermatitis and contact with the herpes simplex 1 virus , the virus that causes cold sores and some cases of genital herpes, according to the NEA. The infection can occur when someone with even mild eczema has skin-to-skin contact with HSV-1. Many watery eczema blisters break out and are very itchy. The infection spreads fast, leading to fever and flu-like symptoms, and the fluid inside the blisters turns to yellow pus.
If the infection is untreated, it can eventually affect vital organs and ultimately lead to death, although thats rare, the NEA says. Treatment for eczema herpeticum consists of antiviral medications and painkillers as needed.
Infections from the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria can also cause pus-filled blisters and honey-colored crusting over the skin, according to the Mayo Clinic. Treatment of a staph infection includes antibiotics and drainage of blisters or wounds.
Signs an eczema blister has become infected include red color, warmth to the touch, whitish liquid drainage, and swelling, Rieder says.
Why Do Children With Eczema Get Frequent Skin Infections
The skin has many important jobs. One is to keep out germs and other harmful substances. Eczema makes the skin less effective at doing this job, so its easier for bacteria, viruses, and other germs to get inside the body.
Following the dermatologists treatment plan helps to build up the skin so that it can do a better job of keeping out germs and other substances.
Related AAD resources
Blisters, crusts and open sores: Photos used with permission of the American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides.
Honey-colored crusts: Photo used with permission of Moise L. Levy, MD, FAAD.
Small, crusted bumps: Dermatology DDx Deck, Photo reprinted with permission of Elsevier-Moby.
ReferencesArkwright PD, Motala C, et al. Management of difficult-to-treat atopic dermatitis. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2013 Mar 1:142-51.
Eichenfield LF. Perspectives in atopic dermatitis: Optimizing outcomes Semin Cutan Med Surg. 2012 Sep 31:S1-2.
Pride HB, Tollefson M, et al. What new in pediatric dermatology? Part I. Diagnosis and pathogenesis. J Am Acad Dermatol 2013 Jun 68:885.e1885.e12.
Pride HB, Tollefson M, et al. What new in pediatric dermatology? Part II. Treatment. J Am Acad Dermatol 2013 Jun 68:899.e1899.e11.
Silverberg J Garg N et al. New developments in comorbidities of atopic dermatitis. Cutis 2014 May 93.222-4.
All content solely developed by the American Academy of Dermatology
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Can I Prevent Infection
Because Staph. Aureus is found on the skin of almost everyone who suffers from atopic eczema, it is difficult to prevent infection. However, by treating the infection with the most appropriate medication, both the bacteria and eczema can be kept under control.
Restoring the skins barrier to infection, by reducing dryness and cracking, will help to reduce the entry points for bacteria. Intensive emollient therapy will improve the barrier function of the skin.
Other simple prevention measures include a daily bath or shower using a soap substitute and good hygiene when applying creams . If infections keep occurring, other members of the family may need to have swab tests, to see if they are carrying any skin bacteria.
Filaggrin Gene Mutation In Atopic Dermatitis
In people with atopic dermatitis, there sometimes a decrease or lack of filaggrin in the skin. Filaggrin is a protein that plays a key role in the structure and formation of the outermost corneal layer of the skin. The lack of filaggrin has been traced back to genetic mutations in the FLG gene. Not having enough filaggrin in the skin layers creates a damaged skin barrier, leading to a reduced ability to maintain the skins natural amount of water, as well as sores and rashes. The damaged skin barrier may also allow for airborne allergens’ to enter the skin, which could lead to an inflammatory response by the immune system.
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Tips For Preventing Infections
Keeping eczema symptoms under control may help lower your chances of developing an infection. You can help prevent weeping eczema by doing the following:
- Avoid scratching. No matter how much your skin itches, try not to scratch it. Scratching carries with it a major risk for infection. Keep your fingernails short, and if the itching becomes bothersome, try using a cold compress.
- Use a humidifier. Dry indoor air can trigger itching and flaking of the skin. A humidifier adds moisture to the air in your home and protects your skin from drying up.
- Moisturize skin. Cracks and open areas in the skin can provide an easy entry for bacteria. Its important to moisturize your skin at least twice a day. The best time to apply a moisturizer is when your skin is still damp after getting out of the shower or bath.
- Take baths. Taking frequent baths or showers can reduce bacteria and remove dead skin. Use warm not hot water when bathing. Instead of rubbing, pat your skin dry.
- Avoid harsh soaps. Stay away from soaps that are made with harsh perfumes or dyes. If you do use these products, rinse them completely from your body when showering.
- Wear proper clothing. Choose clothing thats cool, smooth, and made of cotton. This will lower your chance of experiencing skin irritation.
Checklist For Diagnosing Atopic Eczema
Typically, to be diagnosed with atopic eczema you should have had an itchy skin condition in the last 12 months and 3 or more of the following:
- visibly irritated red skin in the creases of your skin, such as the insides of your elbows or behind your knees at the time of examination by a health professional
- a history of skin irritation occurring in the same areas mentioned above
- generally dry skin in the last 12 months
- a history of asthma or hay fever children under 4 must have an immediate relative, such as a parent, brother or sister, who has one of these conditions
- the condition started before the age of 2
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Seattle Children’s Urgent Care Locations
If your childâs illness or injury is life-threatening, call 911.
Emollients For Treating Eczema
Emollient creams add moisture to the skin. Apply moisturisers each day to clean, dry skin. It is especially important to moisturise after showering and bathing, and when living or working in an air-conditioned or heated environment. You may need to try several different brands until you find the emollient that works best for you. Ask your doctor, dermatologist or pharmacist for advice.
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When To Seek Professional Help
Eczema that continues to worsen over time and does not improve with usual treatment like steroid medication can be an indicator of a bacterial or viral infection, especially when accompanied by pain, warmth, swelling, increased redness, blisters, and pus.
If any of these signs and symptoms are present, see your doctor immediately to determine if you have an infection. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial to prevent serious complications.
Yellow Reddish Or Brown Patches On Your Skin
This skin condition often begins as small raised solid bumps that look like pimples. As it progresses, these bumps turn into patches of swollen and hard skin. The patches can be yellow, reddish, or brown.
You may also notice:
- The surrounding skin has a shiny porcelain-like appearance
- You can see blood vessels
- The skin is itchy and painful
- The skin disease goes through cycles where it is active, inactive, and then active again
- Get tested for diabetes, if you have not been diagnosed.
- Work with your doctor to better control your diabetes.
- See a dermatologist about your skin. Necorbiosis lipodica is harmless, but it can lead to complications.
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Antibiotics Dont Help If Your Skin Is Not Infected
Eczema causes red, itchy, and scaly skin. People with eczema often have high amounts of bacteria on their skin. But that doesnt mean that the germs are causing infection. Even so, some doctors treat eczema with antibiotics that you take by mouth to kill the germs.
Antibiotics also dont help your itching or redness. And they dont make your eczema less severe. Plus, your skin bacteria usually come back in a month or two, if not sooner.
You can control eczema better with lotions and other steps. To ease itching and swelling, ask your doctor about other treatments, such as creams and ointments that contain medicine. You can get them with or without a prescription.
Distinctive Features Of Skin Pathology
The skin undergoes destructive processes, as a result of which erosions, wounds, sores with secretions of ichor and pus appear. The disease can affect people of any age and gender, this is where its main features lie.
Weeping dermatitis gives the patient a lot of trouble, the feeling of pain, burning, and itching. All these details negatively affect the psychological state, as a result of which complexes and depressions appear. This is a productive ground for failures in the work of internal organs and systems, including the skin.
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Swelling And Redness In Your Lower Legs May Not Require Treatment With Antibiotics
If one or both of your lower legs are swollen and red, visit your doctor to find out why. In most cases, if both of your lower legs are swollen and red at the same time, its not because of an infection. That means you dont need antibiotics.
There are many other reasons why your lower legs could be swollen and red. For instance, you could have varicose veins or a blood clot in your leg. You could have an allergy to something you touched, such as a detergent or soap. Leg swelling could even be a sign of heart disease.
Before prescribing an antibiotic, your doctor should talk to you and do any tests needed to rule out these problems. Even then, you should take antibiotics only if theres a clear sign of an infection like cellulitis. Thats a common skin infection that causes redness and swelling.
What Should I Do If My Baby Has Weeping Eczema
If your babys eczema starts to weep, call your healthcare provider so they can help get it under control. To ease symptoms, you can apply steroid cream or ointments. You may also want to consider giving your baby antihistamines for a few days to relieve itching.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Typical eczema is itchy and inconvenient. But when it begins to weep, it becomes a more serious health problem. If you develop weeping eczema, schedule a visit with your healthcare provider right away. Timely treatment will clear up your infection and reduce painful symptoms so you can get back to normal life.
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When To See Your Doctor
You should always see a doctor if you have symptoms of a skin infection.
At your appointment, theyll look at your skin and may take a sample to determine the type of infection you have. Youll then be prescribed the proper type of medication based on the source of your infection.
Your doctor can also offer treatments for the underlying eczema flare thats contributed to the infection. Theyll discuss prescription methods such as steroids for inflammation, as well as lifestyle measures.
Staphylococcus is a type of bacteria that lives on your skin, where it doesnt usually cause an infection.
Staph infections can occur when bacteria enter wounds from eczema or broken skin within your rashes.
Having eczema doesnt mean youll automatically get a staph infection, but it does make you more prone to bacterial skin infections. So its important to be aware of the signs of staph infection in case the bacteria enter broken skin.
Can I Prevent New Skin Infections
If your child gets frequent skin infections, the following can be helpful:
You can avoid spreading bacteria and other germs by:
A bit of detective work may be necessary to find out whats causing the infections.
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Eczema Or Herpes: How Can You Tell The Difference
Its often easy to distinguish between eczema and herpes because of their distinctly different symptoms. While herpes triggers defined blisters that burst and scab over, usually around the mouth or genitals, eczema causes rough, dry rashes in other areas of the body.
To distinguish between herpes and severe eczema that has produced open sores, consider the symptoms that occurred before the sores appeared and the location of the sores.
Extremely Dry Itchy Skin
Dry, itchy skin
If you have diabetes, youre more likely to have dry skin. High blood sugar can cause this. If you have a skin infection or poor circulation, these could also contribute to dry, itchy skin.
- Tell your doctor about your extremely dry skin. Gaining better control of diabetes can reduce dryness.
- If you continue to have dry skin after you gain better control of your diabetes, a dermatologist can help.
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Giving The Cold Shoulder To Infection
To prevent infected eczema, make sure to monitor your flare-ups and take good care of your skin.
Although it may be easier said than done, avoid scratching the skin. This can cause open wounds to form, increasing the risk of infection.
Topical steroids are the first-line treatment for itchy, inflamed patches of eczema. See your dermatologist work out a proper treatment strategy.
Moisturizing can be an effective way to both soothe and protect your skin. If thats not enough, inflammation can be managed with the use of steroid creams, topical immunomodulators, and even light therapy.
Attempting to pinpoint eczema triggers can be a really helpful way to save your future self some trouble when it comes to managing this condition.
Common triggers for eczema flare ups include:
- sweat, heat
Is Eczema Considered An Open Wound
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