Eczema: Containing Infections.

Eczema: Containing Infections.

Jennie Lyon

Eczema: Containing Infection

Staphylococcus aureus is a type of infection that sometimes occurs in people who struggle with atopic dermatitis, aka. eczema. In some cases, S. aureus can contribute to underlying inflammation and, of course, inflammation is such a common characteristic of eczema.

Studies are underway to examine the role that Staphylococcus aureus plays in the pathogenesis of eczema; it’s actually the cause of the majority of bacterial skin infections. Atopic dermatitis patients are particularly at risk for recurring infections.

Your skin serves two important barrier roles: it creates a permeability barrier, and an antimicrobial barrier. During infection, your skin barrier is compromised, both from a permeability and antimicrobial standpoint.

The condition impairs the physical barrier function of the skin, which puts the patient at risk of pathogenic bacteria colonization. Changes to the skin microbiome are also part of the problem.

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Because eczema patients have increased rates of bacteria colonization and S. aureus colonization is so high, dealing with the colonization is a major challenge. Finding ways to contain the infection can ease the conditions and the discomfort of patients. If your eczema flare is resistant to normal therapy, you may have an infection. Having your bacterial culture tested before starting antibiotics is a good idea. You should continue to treat infected atopic dermatitis with topical corticosteroids or calcineurin inhibitors to get control of skin inflammation. Typically, the infection can be managed on an outpatient basis, but in extreme cases a dermatologist may admit a patient to the hospital.

Read more about Decolonization and Containment here:

Improving your hygiene can help in the decolonization process. Chlorhexidine and dilute bleach baths are recommended. Containment strategies also include covering draining lesions, bathing and washing hands regularly, and not sharing personal items of any kind, including hair brushes, towels, etc. It’s a good idea to disinfect objects that are touched a lot in your home, this can include counters, doorknobs, and bathroom surfaces.

Wet wrap therapy for eczema or wet wraps can also decrease the amount of S. aureus found on the skin.  Wet wrap therapy for eczema is a very effective treatment for eczema/atopic dermatitis and when done properly it can decrease eczema symptoms by 75%.  For more information on wet wrap therapy for eczema visit

Below is a diagram on how to do a safe and effective bleach bath and here in an article on bleach baths for eczema