Is eczema contagious ?

This is a common preconception attached to the majority of skin diseases, but must absolutely be refuted in the case of eczema. No, eczema is not contagious, nor is it due to a lack of hygiene. This is true for all forms of the disease: atopic eczema, contact eczema, chronic hand eczema and pregnancy eczema. You can't catch eczema by shaking someone's hand or kissing them on the cheek. You also can't catch it by swimming in the same pool as someone with eczema or by using their towel.



Eczema in children

A child with eczema can go to school as usual without the risk of "contaminating" their classmates. Unfortunately, the reaction of the other children, other parents and sometimes even the teacher is often harsh and hard to deal with. It then becomes necessary to explain their disease and treatment, and the fact that chronic eczema is not contagious. At this stage, it might be useful to schedule a meeting with the teacher or show a medical certificate.

Preventing secondary infection

However, eczema can sometimes become superinfected, and if this happens, the child would need to stay away from school temporarily. The main secondary infections are bacterial: eczema lesions begin to ooze and become covered with yellowish scabs. Local treatments and potentially antibiotics are prescribed. Viral secondary infections are essentially caused by the herpes virus and can be very serious. To prevent them, during flare-ups avoid contact with anyone with a cold sore.

Points to remember

Always follow these rules of good sense: do not touch your lesions unless applying treatment; wash your hands before and after treatment; cut nails short; consult your doctor as soon as possible if you observe a change in appearance of lesions or general symptoms such as fever or fatigue.

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