Weeping eczema is not a specific type of eczema but a complication due to an infection in the skin. It can occur if bacteria or other pathogens enter broken skin due to eczema and involves fluid-filled blisters.

In this article, find out what weeping eczema is, how to recognize it, and what to do if it happens.

A person may contract an infection if bacteria or a virus gets into an open wound or blister where there is an eczema rash. The area may become inflamed, and blisters may leak clear or straw-colored fluid, which wet the skin and eventually form a dry, crusty layer.

This article discusses weeping eczema, its symptoms, and its causes. It then looks at complications, treatments, and when people should seek medical attention.

Weeping eczema can develop if a person acquires a skin infection, which causes blisters or wounds that seep fluid.

This infection occurs when skin becomes damaged, for example, when a person scratches an affected area, allowing microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, or fungi, to enter the body.

Eczema is an umbrella term for a range of skin conditions causing the skin to become red, itchy, and inflamed. It is a common issue that affects more than 31 million people in the United States.

There are several types of eczema, including:

  • Atopic dermatitis: This is the most common type of eczema.
  • Contact dermatitis: An irritant or allergen, such as animal dander, dust mites, or soaps, can cause this form of eczema.
  • Dyshydropic eczema: Small fluid-filled blisters appear on the hands and feet.
  • Neurodermatitis: This condition causes intense itching on one or two areas of the skin. Persistent scratching may irritate the skin’s nerve endings.
  • Nummular eczema: Also called discoid eczema, this type of eczema causes defined circular spots to develop.
  • Stasis dermatitis: This long-term condition is due to blood pooling in the legs when the veins cannot force blood back up the leg. It causes inflammation, ulcers, and itching on the lower legs.

A person can have more than one type of eczema. Each type may have different triggers and require different treatments.

If an infection occurs on eczema-affected skin, the condition can be more challenging to treat and may last longer. For this reason, it is vital to consult a doctor or dermatologist if a person suspects an infection or experiences symptoms that suggest weeping eczema.

Symptoms of weeping eczema include:

  • open sores
  • burning
  • intense itching
  • seeping fluid
  • blisters
  • white or yellow pustules

If the infection is more severe, people may also experience:

  • chills or fever
  • aches
  • fatigue
  • swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpit, or groin

Various microorganisms can cause infection in eczema, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Eczema causes the skin to itch — if someone scratches the area, the skin can break, allowing microorganisms to enter, which leads to infection.

Microbes that are commonly responsible for such infections include the following:

  • Staph infection: The common name for Staphylococcus aureus. It is a common bacterium found on the normal skin of many healthy people and those with eczema. On typical, healthy skin, it does not cause any problems. However, if the skin becomes broken, this bacterium can enter its deeper layers, triggering an infection and slowing down healing.
  • Fungal infections: Fungi are widespread and may be present in the skin of those without eczema. Candida albicans is a type of yeast that causes a large proportion of fungal infections, which can aggravate eczema symptoms.
  • The herpes simplex virus: This virus can cause a secondary infection called eczema herpeticum. Without treatment, this condition can have severe consequences, including scarring, blindness, or death, in rare cases. For this reason, people with eczema should avoid contact with individuals with cold sores and seek medical attention for any suspected eczema infections.

There are several possible complications from eczema, including infection and resistance to treatment. An eczema infection can result in:

  • the condition taking longer to heal
  • increased itchiness
  • scarring

An untreated staph infection can also cause a potentially fatal blood infection called sepsis. Younger children are particularly at risk of this complication.

In addition, if a person applies topical steroids for long periods, eczema may become more difficult to treat and resistant to the medication. One study also suggests that topical corticosteroid use could affect growth and delay puberty in children with eczema. However, in general, there is no evidence to support this suggestion.

Although there is no cure for eczema, a person can ease symptoms with various treatment options.

Topical steroids can fight the inflammation that stimulates eczema, but they can cause thinning of the skin and immune system complications. Doctors may also prescribe topical antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medication, or skin barrier creams.

In people with severe eczema, doctors may recommend oral prednisone, a synthetic steroid. However, in most cases, when a person stops taking this drug, symptoms return, potentially worse than before.

Occasionally, healthcare professionals may prescribe immunosuppressants to dampen the immune system’s response to allergens that can trigger certain types of eczema. These drugs include cyclosporin and methotrexate, but they may cause side effects.

Finally, a recent proof-of-concept study suggests a new drug called etokimab may be effective in improving the symptoms of atopic dermatitis.

Home remedies

For people with concerns about taking prescribed medications, home treatments for eczema may help. These include:

Depending on the cause of eczema, it may be possible to prevent a flareup. For example, people can avoid irritants and allergens that may trigger the condition. Children may find that following a specific diet helps them prevent inflammation and eczema.

There is some evidence to support the use of probiotics to prevent eczema, although further studies are needed. A review states that bathing in a diluted bleach bath can kill bacteria on the skin’s surface, improve eczema symptoms, and reduce flareups. However, this report also suggests that more investigations are needed.

Because young children are particularly at risk of complications from eczema, it is a good idea to seek medical advice if symptoms of a skin condition occur.

If an individual has eczema that persists, is severe, or does not respond to treatment, they should speak with their doctor. They should also seek medical advice if they develop a fever, chills, or an eczema infection.

A person with weeping eczema will experience blisters on the skin that ooze fluid, which dries and eventually forms a yellow crusty layer.

The condition is due to infection when the skin becomes broken, allowing microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi, to enter the body.

People should always seek medical attention in the event of an eczema infection as it can lead to severe complications.

Prescription medications may include topical steroid creams, antibiotics, and oral medications. If people have concerns about side effects, natural remedies or home treatments may help ease symptoms.