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Recurring eczema/impetigo in adults

(38 Posts)
cakeaddict Tue 24-Mar-09 11:33:30


Just wondering if anyone else has experienced this. I have suffered from impetigo on and off for about the past 8-9 years. It only ever rears it's (very!) ugly head when I'm unwell - and then like clockwork on about the second or third day of being unwell my skin starts to break out in sore red patches around my face & neck which go weepy and slightly crusty. It truly is vile and I always feel like some leper as it's clearly visible being on my face.

Normally I go to the docs and get prescribed antibiotics/cream which clears it up eventually - until the next time I'm a bit run down and under the weather and then the cycle starts again. In between bouts, my skin is generally very problem free.

I am having another attack and have just come back from the GP. Decided to nip it in the bud early so went as soon as the red patches appeared - he has said he thinks it is eczema not impetigo but to go back if it doesn't clear up. And I have antibiotics. I tried to probe further, to explain that this is a recurring problem I have never got to the bottom of and is there any explanation why it keeps recurring. He was very dismissive of this and I don't feel like I got anywhere at all.

Has anyone else suffered from this and if so do you know any magic cure to make it go away for good, or am I destined to be crusty at least once a year?!


OP’s posts: |
RuthChan Tue 24-Mar-09 15:38:06

Hi cakeaddict. I'm so sorry to hear about your problem. It sounds awful.
It also happens to sound rather similar to my husband.
He has eczema, which he now keeps in check with evening primrose oil. That stops it coming out even when he's stressed and run down.
However, he also and separately gets patches on his face. They are not red, but they leak fluid which then turns crusty and yellowy-brown. It's really unpleasant and he says it's quite painful.
His was diagnosed as being the herpes virus, which also causes cold sores. They're basically big cold sores, but not around his mouth.
The doctor gives him cream and, if he catches them when the tingles first start, he can stop it coming out too badly. However, he has been told that there is no permanent cure.
I wonder if this sounds like it might be the same as your case? Maybe you should consider showing it to a dermitologist next time, rather than just your GP.

cakeaddict Tue 24-Mar-09 21:20:54

Thanks Ruthchan - I'll bear that in mind. Though I don't get any tingling so it doesn't feel like cold sores. I think that next time I'm going to ask for a referral to look into it as I never seem to see the same GP more than once which I don't think helps.

Evening primrose oil also sounds like it might be worth a shot - might look into that... as I can always tell when it's likely to happen (when I'm not well) just something that might either stop or reduce the inflammation would be good.

OP’s posts: |
liath Tue 24-Mar-09 21:26:31

Have you ever had the patches swabbed? Your GP should be able to do bacterial & viral swabs and that should tell you if it's impetigo or herpes.

cakeaddict Tue 24-Mar-09 21:34:37

Several years ago when this first started, but nothing untoward - think it just showed staphlyococcus (started trying to spell that and then had no idea where to go with it..!) which is apparently normally present on the skin anyway.

OP’s posts: |
liath Wed 25-Mar-09 07:53:17

Staph can cause impetigo so I suppose you could have a bash at trying to get rid of your skin carriage. It commonly lurks up noses, in armpits etc. You could try using chlohexedine as a body wash or use a dilute solution of teatree oil. You'd probably need to pursuade your GP to prescribe an antibiotic nasal ointment like bactroban but they may be reluctant as it's one of the antibiotics used to clear MRSA so GPs are discouraged from prescibing it for anything else. Maybe yoiu could use a tea tree solution up the nose but it could be a bit irritating so would need to be well diluted.

It's probably also worth getting a referral to a dermatologist in case I'm spouting a load of rubbish grin.

RuthChan Wed 25-Mar-09 19:29:30

Evening primrose oil is good for eczema and period pains (not relevant for DH obviously), but I can't comment about other skin conditions. It helps with hormone balance and should be taken daily. It doesn't help everyone, but it has done wonders for DH. His skin was in an awful state,but it healed completely in a matter of weeks.

pointydog Wed 25-Mar-09 19:33:47

try to get a dermatology referral. GPs tend not to know much about eczema.

Ivykaty44 Wed 25-Mar-09 19:38:27

take a look her

You need to know which it is for sure.

I took zinc to help with eczema, which did seem to help.

pickle33 Fri 05-Feb-10 22:52:18

I have the a very similar problem recurring now for about 3 years - always when I have a cold and have to use tissues on my nose. No matter how hygenic I seem to be, I get a bout of impetigo, causing a big scab under my nose. It is a really distressing problem, I agree.

Although I've had a slightly more helpful experience with my Dr's - they've done swabs and confirmed the problem - they cannot give me much advice on preventative measures.

I have just bought some 'medihoney' barrier cream which I am using to stop the spread of my current infection. Iam planning tosee how it works as a preventative cream too. Just read up on the product website - could be a winner, as it is a natural product, so bacteria don't build up resistance to its healing properties. Watch this space. Will message again if it works!!

Milliways Sun 07-Feb-10 16:53:40

My DD gets plagued with this on her face. She was to & from the GPs and on various anti-biotics, creams & potions. However, when they swabbed it they couldn't confirm impetigo so she had a dermatology referral.

trouble is - EVERY time she saw the dermatologist she was clear. They wanted to take a biopsy but appts always come up when it is clear, or it has snowed & no-one can get to appt!

Now she is at Uni and the GP there is referring her to the Uni hopsital as agree she needs an answer. DD is worried that biopsy will leave a permanent scar on her forehead but she gets some scarring from the ?impetigo, so I suppose she will get this done if it ever surfaces to co-incide with an appt.

I would push your GP for a referral too.

marsden14 Tue 09-Feb-10 23:31:26

My DD who is nearly 5, started getting impetigo about 2 years ago. It is being more frequent now, which is a pain as she started school in September last year and has already had quite alot of time off. She woke up on Thursday with a patch on her lip, which turned out to be impetigo, so I had to take thursday and friday off school. I phoned the doctors who did me a prescription for fucidin cream and fluoxicilian medicine, which is handy as within 48 hours of taking the medicine she can go back to school. I have an appointment at the doctors tomorrow as I need answers. She cant go on like this. I have read on the internet that they can swab up the nose as the virus tends to colonise there, and if detected they can treat it, and stop it reoccuring.....Ill keep you all posted.

sparkphil Mon 15-Feb-10 15:09:01

Hello my name is phil. I too have had the same problem for three years and i have decided to make a small booklet with everything i know about reoccuring impetigo and how i cured it once and for all. My e mail address is e mail me and i would be more than happy to send you a copy Good luck

itsnotacoldsore Sun 08-Jul-12 04:14:33

Hi there cakeaddict. I have been suffering from impetigo breakouts ever since 10th grade. It is very constricting since it looks like I have a flesh eating disease with blisters and all, and not helping with things at all, I work in a beauty store and everyone avoids me like the plague when I break out. I have been sent home because of women calling up and saying they are registered nurses and that I have a horrible cause of infectious impetigo. I have intimately been around my boyfriend for 5 years, and there have been more, and I have never spread this "disease" to any of my partners nor family. I do not believe it is as contagious as I am told, however I take precautions with sanitary conditions. Simply put, from my observation, and the help of one doctor that made sense to me, Staphylococcus (staph) lives everywhere on everything, all over our skin, the dog's fur, the cat, the street etc., etc. the problem I have is that I have allergies and tend to rub my nose a bit more than I'd like to admit. Once I have rubbed it raw, it cracks open and the staph is let in. I suppose, and this is my thought, that I have really low immunity to staph. Almost instantaneously, following the horrible stingy feeling of impetigo, and bang, in what seems like just a few hours, I have the red and blistery mess. Docs give me oral antibiotics and Bactroban Cream (Mupirocin Calcium Cream), which can help with weepy mess coming out of my nose,(kidding, it looks like a giant white mess in my nostril) but does nothing for the pain that seems to run up my sinus canal and slightly in my internal eye area. I have tried so many things, I had a kind woman (ha ha) yell at me whilst I was in line at Disneyland and tell me I need to take Lysine. Tried it for some time (a year) and it really didn't seem to help. I almost want to "give up" and tell people I have herpes, it seems like a more socially acceptable condition. The latest cream that I have used, and it honestly seems to help, definitely quickly healing the wound and getting to the honey crust really ugly part is by Fresh and is called Crème Ancienne. This is a costly investment and I am not one to "plug in advertisements" to a product, so I would say, call the Fresh store up and see if they will make you a sample before you invest. If not, I believe Sephora should carry the product and they will give you a sample if they carry it, so again, call before. that is all I have to report on the subject for now. I empathize in the first degree with this annoying re-occurrence, however, it is somewhat of a comfort knowing that I am not the only one.
Please let me know if this has helped at all.
Kindest regards

Lynnwo Fri 31-May-13 19:37:53

I have this horrendous condition and was very surprised when dr said it was impetigo as I always presumed it was just children that got this.

I have suffered from mild eczema around the nose area for about 5 years and suddenly these fluid filled blisters appear, the dr has prescribed a weeks course of antibiotics and hopefully this will clear. Can anyone advise if this infection is related to the herpes virus?

tilbatilba Fri 31-May-13 20:02:39

It's not related. AS other posters have said you really need to treat the staph colony ie by putting an antibiotic ointment or cream up your nose. You can also apply antibiotic cream topically and are usually given a course of antibiotics. It is contagious so hygiene needs to be ramped up and children are not allowed to attend school (in Australia anyway ...).

tilbatilba Fri 31-May-13 20:07:22

Cakeaddict ...didn't mean to imply your hygiene needs improving was talking generally! In your case I think you def should see a dermatologist and get swabs done by your GP next time you have lesions. Even if it is infected eczema, again an antibiotic cream like Bactroban up your nose is the way to go.

stacylee Sun 29-Dec-13 15:46:08

I have been getting impetigo and cold sores my entire life. I've recently started applying a diluted bleach mixture (half bleach and half water) to the effected area and it heals up quite nicely. Be aware that sensitive skin may require more dilution, but for me, a 50/50 mixture works well applied at the first sign of impetigo or cold sore.

Hattielentz Fri 11-Jul-14 21:04:53

I wonder if anyone is still following this thread. Well here goes. My grown daughter has experienced recurring impetigo for about four years. She has a breakout now. It is in her nose, on her nose, on her eyebrow, and on her chin. The doctor has prescribed Mupirocin for treating the infection but we are looking for a prevention. She has recently been to an allergy specialist who has ordered blood tests to find out if she has an immunity problem. Also, he is asking her to see a dermatologist whom he knows (she has been to several).

cakehunter87 Sun 27-Jul-14 08:42:33

I am having my second bout of impetigo in 5 months, the first attack lasted 3 months. It's on my lips and I believe was brought about after an allergic reaction to a lip balm. I'm sick of antibiotics. I've just finished a weeks course after spotting it early but it's still weeping and still sore and red and tender. Like a gross lipstick. I want it gone for good but looks like there is no prevention method at all?

seoda24 Sun 27-Jul-14 11:06:37

I am the same.I am getting this awful dreaded dose every 8 weeks.have you allergies? I have severe allergies and eczema so it just takes a rub of the eye/ nose and bang the blisters start.mine is not impetigo it it eczema herpeticum a mild form.i got it around and inside my nose last month and the pain was unbearable .i agree with you cakehunter87 the antibiotics are a pain ...

Darkesteyes Mon 27-Oct-14 00:26:34

Ive been having breakouts of impetigo on and off for nine years. Ive had a flare up today. The last one was in January 2012 The one before that in July 2011. So i finally thought this had gone away as its been a longer gap this time. It tends to affect me in humid weather or when i have a cold like now.

In 9 years no doctor has ever suggested taking a swab from my nose They usually give me fusidic acid cream and/or antibiotics but there is trouble getting appointments now so it will be interesting. Im now on the Mini Pill so i dont really want antibiotics that will affect it.

iwantgin Mon 27-Oct-14 12:51:24

Are you certain that it ia impetigo? Google peri oral dermatitis. It can look and feel similar. I get this every now and again. Treatment is a 3 month course of Lymecycline.

Steroid creams worsen it.

Can be hormone related. I first got it when I was pregnant. However gp didn't know what it was. A good few years after that I saw a dermatologist who diagnosed me.

Darkesteyes Mon 27-Oct-14 14:34:36

Thanks gin thanks Im seeing the doctor at 5 so i will mention it.

Darkesteyes Mon 27-Oct-14 18:38:19

I didnt get a chance to mention it as they moved my appointment back half an hour. Theyve given me antibiotics and a cream.

I asked the doctor whether i should throw out any lipsticks ive used in the past 7 to 10 days (the impetigo is on my bottom lip and its really swelled up) but the doc said i didnt need to. What do others think?

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