Weeping eczema means you have eczema with pus-filled blisters. These sores literally weep, resulting in oozing or wetness. The pus is usually yellow or clear in color and eventually dries up as a crusty layer on your skin.
Keep reading to learn more about what causes weeping eczema and how to treat it.
Causes of weeping eczema
Weeping eczema is often caused by an infection. Your skin can become infected if you scratch it too much or if it becomes cracked. This allows bacteria, viruses, or fungi to enter the exposed area. An infection can worsen eczema symptoms and make your condition more difficult to treat.
Signs of infection may include:
- blisters or pus on the skin
- skin that weeps a yellow, golden, or clear fluid
- dry crusts on the skin
- itching, soreness, or reddening of the skin
- worsening symptoms of eczema
- fever or flu-like symptoms
- small, red spots around body hair
- swollen glands in the neck, armpit, or groin area
A common bacterium, known as staphylococcus or staph, is the cause of most infections in people with eczema. Staph can easily find its way onto broken skin. More than 90 percent of people with moderate-to-severe eczema have staph on their skin.
A virus, called herpes simplex or the cold sore virus, can also enter the skin. It can lead to a serious infection known as eczema hereticum. In addition to weeping eczema, eczema hereticum can cause itchy blisters and fever.
Fungal infections, such as tinea, commonly known as ringworm, are another problem that can sometimes cause skin infections in people with eczema. In addition to weeping blisters, ringworm causes red, itchy, scaly, or raised patches of skin with a red ring on the outer edge.
See a doctor
You should see a doctor right away if your skin is weeping and you suspect an infection. The sooner you receive treatment, the quicker your condition can clear.
Your doctor will examine the affected skin and may swab the area to determine what type of infection you have. That will help them determine an appropriate treatment for your condition.
Treatments for weeping eczema
If your skin is weeping and infected, your treatment will depend on the type of infection you have.
Bacterial infections are usually treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics may be administered as a cream, ointment, tablet, or syrup. Sometimes, antibiotics are given along with a topical steroid.
Viral infections are typically treated with antiviral tablets. If your viral infection is severe, you may need to receive these medicines intravenously in a hospital setting.
Fungal infections are helped with antifungal creams or ointments. These are usually combined with topical steroids.
It’s important that you continue to take your usual oral or topical medicines for eczema unless your doctor tells you to stop treatment.
Home remedies for weeping eczema
Certain methods, like using bandages to wrap skin and keep it moisturized and protected, should not be used if you have an infection unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
Some people report improved symptoms with other approaches, such as:
- Antiseptic emollients. Your doctor may recommend these products to help hydrate your skin and protect it from bacteria.
- Stress management exercises. Studies show that stress may be related to worsening of eczema symptoms. Certain techniques to lower stress, such as exercise, meditation, or yoga, may help your condition.
- Biofeedback or behavior modification. These methods are sometimes used to help you stop scratching your skin.
- Diet. Some people report improvement when they modify their diet. Avoiding trigger foods may help. Research is currently being conducted on the use of probiotics and prebiotics for the treatment and prevention of eczema, but some studies have found no benefit.
The success of your treatment will depend on the severity of your infection. Most of the time, your symptoms will clear up with the proper treatment. Occasionally, very severe infections may require hospitalization.
Seek help right away if you develop weeping eczema so your doctor can prescribe proper treatment and prevention strategies.
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. It’s 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 that’s cool, smooth, and made of cotton. This will lower your chance of experiencing skin irritation.