Sorry I’ve been rather quiet recently. I actually spent last week hospitalised with a sudden and extremely dangerous bout of Eczema Herpeticum and Periorbital Cellulitis. For those not in the know, EH is when the herpes simplex virus occurs, but unlike a healthy person who would get a cold sore or two, the virus spreads dramatically throughout the skin where eczema is prone. If not diagnosed and dealt with immediately, it can become a very complex series of affairs. Due to the fast spreading nature it can advance to and shut down various organs and cause even more serious infections such as septicemia.
In my individual case, it started within my eyes. In fact, 3 days prior to the outbreak I assumed my hay fever must have been playing up. It wasn’t until the Saturday morning 3 days later that I woke up with my eyes literally glued together. I assumed it to be conjunctivitis. Only an hour later I then began to see the telltale signs of Eczema Herpeticum. It must be said that I am somewhat of an expert with this illness, given that this is now the 7th time I’ve contracted it since April 2012 but nevertheless, when the eyes are concerned it’s best to seek a high level of medical advice. As it happened to be a Saturday I was forced to go to A&E as EH is considered to be a dermatological emergency.
I was then issued with the usual Aciclovir tablets that I have become accustomed to taking on a regular basis and off I went expecting it to work as it usually would. Only it wasn’t working quickly enough. Over the course of the day my face was completely covered with EH. I went to bed, dreading to wake up the next day because I just knew it would be even worse.
It was of course dangerously worse. My right eye had swollen completely shut and in fact I looked unrecognisable.
Back off to A&E I went. I was fast-tracked to the outpatients department to see a GP who claimed to have never seen anything like this before. He even asked if he may take a photograph for medical teaching purposes, which I was more than happy to oblige to as people need to learn about these often unseen and infrequent, debilitating and sometimes life-threatening conditions.
I was admitted there and then as it was decided I would need to be administered treatment through a drip to try to slow down the vastly spreading infection.
Tests showed that I had developed a secondary infection of Periorbital Cellulitis! I couldn’t believe it. I knew how awful a condition Cellulitis was and I also was aware of how long it could take to heal. Frightened was an understatement.
It took 6 days for the swelling to subside and for my face to return to a more normalised state. It was hell. I’m now home after being discharged on Friday evening and under strict doctor’s orders to rest in the hope that it does not rebound.
You can read a more in depth story of it over on my blog: I Have Eczema which includes images of my progress and a video of me in my hospital side room.