Saturday, January 25, 2014

Remember that one time: Eczema Herpeticum

I don't have very much news since my last post.  I had a GREAT day on Thursday, but yesterday wasn't nearly as wonderful.  I felt really uncomfortable all day, despite taking even more Atarax than usual.  Oh well.  My chest rash does seem to be dissipating in intensity, however.  The red is fading into a less-angry pink but, like I mentioned before, the rash does seem to be spreading to other areas. :(

Since I don't have much current news to report and, in an effort to document my full skin history over the past 2 years, I want to share some pictures of the awfulness that happened to me back in September 2013 (about 4 months ago).  A little stroll down memory lane... shall we?


I had been dealing with major skin issues for quite a while by the time this happened, but my issues took on a whole new "flare" (shall we say?) when I had my first run-in with eczema herpecticum.

What is eczema herpecticum, you ask?  Well.... basically, you get a cold sore (from the lovely "herpes" family).  But instead of that cold sore just staying on your lip (like normal), us lucky eczema folks watch it spread away from your lips and spread into our rashy areas.  And it spreads like a wildfire, let me tell you, traveling through your already-broken, eczematous skin.  Before you even realize what's happening, you have hundreds of cold sores running down your face & neck.

I had never had a cold sore in my life before this point.  Christopher, my husband, started getting them at some point during high school, but he never made a big deal out of them--so I had no idea what they were, really.  I had no idea they were contagious, either (am I dense or what?!).  And I had no idea what they could do to someone (like me) with already-terrible skin problems.

Here's some photos of how it started & progressed:

This picture was taken on Day 2.  I had 3 cold sores show up on my lips the first day, but just thought they were acne or something.  I touched them at various points of the day.  I probably touched my neck right after touching the cold sores (TERRIBLE idea!) which caused it to spread down there.  

This is what my neck looked like that same day.  It was REALLY uncomfortable. At first, I just thought that my normal skin problems were acting up, but by that evening I realized it was a completely different problem all together.  As I took these photos, I started to realize (and Christopher confirmed) that they were actually cold sores.  Google then gave me a second confirmation and explained that it's called "eczema herpecticum" and that I needed to seek medical attention.

This was the very next morning (Day 3).  We were supposed to go to our friends' wedding that same afternoon.  Instead I ended up at the ER.

I could barely move my neck.  The pain is quite different from eczema pain.

This was later that same evening, after arriving home from the hospital.  I was given an anitviral to help stop the spreading.  You can see that my chin was more broken out than it was in the morning.

The next morning (Day 4).  Dry, dry, dry.  And swollen.  Ooooof.

Later that same morning, after moisturizing.

From that point, with the aid of the antiviral I had been given, the sores started to dissipate.  I spent that whole week in bed.

Since this time, I've gotten about 4 recurrences of cold sores.  Each time, I noticed them popping up on my lip the very first day.  I've simply had to get some antiviral pills into my system and cover to sores with Abreva throughout the day.  Both of these things have been able to stop the virus in its tracks and, thankfully, I haven't had to deal with this bad of a breakout again.

Up until this point, I really thought that my rashes were the ugliest, most unsightly things in the world.  This really knocked my normal rashes out of the park.


  1. Oh Stace, this is the first I saw this. It looks so painful :(

  2. Yikes. Hope things have cleared up. Was there a noticable pale line going from your chin up the side of your face? I have something similar, minus the cold sores and the severity.