close up shot of rash on cheek

Eczema Herpeticum: What You Need to Know

What is eczema herpeticum? What are the options for eczema herpeticum treatment? Learn all about this condition that is actually much more common than you think.

Eczema Herpeticum: What to Watch For

Eczema herpeticum (EH) is a skin reaction that happens when someone with eczema, or another chronic skin issue, is exposed to the herpes virus.

It often takes the form of a very painful rash on the face and neck that is more severe than typical dermal flare ups. The rash is often made up of deep red, purple, or even black blisters that cover the affected area. The blisters are small, and at first may look like chicken pox, with small red dots covering the skin.

In the days leading up to the actual breakout, eczema herpeticum may seem like a typical cold or virus. The patient may have a run-down feeling, a high fever, or chills.

If EH is presenting in a baby or child, these symptoms often leave them to feel irritable and tired.

There is almost always a smaller, initial outbreak, but EH can spread and worsen quite rapidly. It’s important that if you suspect you or your little one is developing EH, that a physician is consulted as soon as possible!

Who is at risk?

Unfortunately, the people at risk of developing EH are the patients who are most vulnerable in general. Most cases of eczema herpeticum happen in babies and younger children. Anybody who struggles with severe skin issues – from eczema to burns – or the atopic triad – eczema, allergies, and asthma – is at risk.

People with eczema can have a cold sore (the most common form of the herpes virus) without it developing into EH, but it is important to still keep an eye on it.

Is Eczema Herpeticum Contagious?

Yes - very! Because of its rapid growth nature, it’s important to be careful around those suffering from EH as much as possible. Especially f you are already suffering from a skin condition like eczema, psoriasis, etc.

This can be more difficult to control at home, because multiple people can be struggling with skin issues.

Is Eczema Herpeticum Preventable?

Yes - There are a handful of effective preventative measures you can take to reduce your risk of contacting EH.

Get eczema diagnosed and treated

Eczema herpeticum tends to happen when eczema is especially severe or untreated. If you believe anybody in your household suffers from severe eczema, it is extremely important to doctor or naturopath who can provide accurate and effective treatment.

Keeping skin soothed and protected on your own terms can also go far. Our Remedywear™, clothing for eczema made with soft, cooling TENCEL and antibacterial zinc-embedded fibers, can go a long way towards reducing risk of EH. Not only does the material help soothe skin, but the garments can be used as a protected layer from irritants.


You also want to limit the itch-scratch cycle, so keeping skins protected by eczema mittens and gloves will also reduce your risk of contracting EH.

Reduce the risk of infection

Any opening in the skin is the ideal location for a virus to enter the body.

Keeping skin moisturized and the skin barrier intact is extremely important in order to avoid infections like EH, but also staph. This Organic Manuka Skin Soothing Cream is a wonderful moisturizer for itchy, dry skin because it contains organic manuka honey; an active ingredient known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-itch properties.

This Conqueror Oatmeal Bath for Eczema can also fight skin sensitivity by detoxifying and regenerating dried out skin. This hydration strengthens skin and stops the scratching, which in turn allows skin to repair itself.

Any form of weeping eczema needs to be well protected as well. This Emily Skin Soothers Red Eczema Rash Treatment was made to heal weeping and crusty skin.


If someone in your circle or in your home is suffering from a herpes outbreak, don’t give it a chance to spread. Disinfect or dispose of places or items where the virus may have the opportunity to spread to other people, including kitchenware or makeup.

No person should ever be judged or ostracized for contracting herpes. It's an extremely common virus that can easily be avoided by disinfecting and temporarily avoiding activities such as kissing, sharing drinks or being intimate.

Eczema Herpeticum Treatments

Once a person contracts EH, it's important to seek medical attention for treatment options like antiviral medication. Antibiotics might be prescribed as well, because secondary infections are common with EH.

Even with antivirals and antibiotics, outbreaks can occur, but they are generally less intense than initial outbreaks. Regardless, those with EH should make regular checkups with their medical provider.

The important thing to note is that: the longer EH goes unnoticed or treated, the worse it becomes.



Bio: Laura is a contributor and content developer for The Eczema Company. She is in no way a medical professional. Her comments, suggestions, and reflections are not intended to replace any medical advice. Always seek the help of a medical professional before undertaking any diet or lifestyle changes.