Our son had a herpes infection of his eczema a few months ago. This was a wake up call for us to again increase our efforts and look for help – and one reason why I started this blog.
We had been on vacation near Moscow this summer. Everyone who watched international news had probably heard about the heat and the extensive wildfires around Moscow. Even though we had nice days there we where happy to turn our backs at the merciless heat and wildfires. Since a couple of days our son J. had a small inflammation on his left wrist which stared to get worse. In the fist night back home he scratched himself badly and within a day red pustules made their way up his arms. This was the beginning of a long and scary odyssey. I spare you the details, I just want to emphasize how important it is to question any medical diagnosis. Don’t let yourself be brushed off by impatient doctors. Be suspicious by a quick diagnosis without test. In the course of a bit more than a week we saw 6 different doctors, some we saw twice, before getting a proper diagnosis and receiving proper treatment. What was utterly misdiagnosed as scabies by the doctor at the children’s hospital (luckily we did not trust her) turned out to be eczema herpeticum (or: eczema herpeticatum) finally rightfully recognized by our dermatologist who send us straight to the dermatological clinic. Eczema herpeticum is a herpes infection of the eczema and is considered a dermatological emergency which has to be treated immediately. Luckily the spread of the infection had slowed down significantly during the last days, so we could convince the doctors to do an oral treatment at home, rather than having to stay with J. at the hospital for an IV treatment.
Eczema herpeticum is a complication of eczema. The weak immune defense of the sick skin allows the herpes virus to easily spread and infect the affected areas. It has to be treated immediately and systemically with an anti-viral drug (aciclovir). If not treated the herpes virus can spread to other organs and can become life threatening. Additionally, the affected skin had a bacterial infection and the doctors strongly advised us to treat it with antibiotics, which we did. We were very lucky that we just came back from vacation and J.’s skin was relatively good, so the virus couldn’t spread as easily and J. was otherwise in good health.
Thank God this ordeal is behind us now and luckily J. was pretty much ok during the whole time (except his skin, of course). On the funny note: When we were with J. at the dermatological clinic one of the professors came to look at him and he thought the case was interesting enough to show him at the daily consortium (sort of mid-day meeting of all doctors to discuss 3-4 special cases). So we went to wait in front of big oak doors for our call. Inside we faced a small auditorium filled with white coated doctors, who, after a short introduction, gushed all around us like a big ocean wave. After some touching and turning and “Ahem” and “Jaja” they disappeared back to their seats as quickly as they had rushed forward. The diagnosis was confirmed by several doctors, special tests where ordered and done and we left with a referral back to the children’s hospital (btw, we went back to the same doctor there who had previously misdiagnosed the infection as scabies. How embarrassing is that.). We decided to give J. a break and go home for the night (by then he had been in doctors offices – and waiting room – for almost five hours). In the evening, when I put him to sleep he summed up this day’s experience: “Mama, the doctors all were wearing bathrobes because they were cold.” This put a smile on my face.