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Is infection a complication of eczema?

Eczema, also called atopic dermatitis, can be complicated by many types of infections. The most frequent are the following:

  • Impetigo (honey-colored crusts) caused by Staph and Strep bacteria
  • Yeast infections of the diaper area
  • Molluscum contagiosum (water warts) 

It is also possible to get infections that might be confused with eczema, such as ringworm fungus on the face, scalp, and body; and infestation by a tiny insect called scabies in the body creases and genital area.

Bottom line:  If your eczema keeps getting worse in spite of treatment, or is unusually itchy, you'd be wise to ask your doctor about the possibility of infection.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

Scratching the itch caused by eczema, a type of atopic dermatitis, can infect the skin. The skin is usually a very good barrier that keeps bacteria and other irritants out of the body. But when the skin is broken, bacteria on the skin, hands, or contaminated objects can enter into the skin through the dry, scaly cracks. Anyone with eczema, particularly children, is at risk for bacterial infections.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.