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Discussion:
Eczema IS Contagious
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My boyfriend has eczema. Despite all the research I've done on eczema to try to find out whether it is contagious or not, I have come to the conclusion that it IS contagious regardless of my findings stating that it is not.

I am usually in skin-to-skin contact with my boyfriend and for the past week now, I've noticed that I've started itching. Yesterday it was so bad I used alcohol to stop it. Even as I type now, my arm is itching. This itching has never happend to me before except when I was a kid and had chicken pox.

I don't see any other logical explanation for this sudden itching. I am jus going by my experience. The FDA doesn't have the answers to everything.
Posted on 01/06/11, 08:50 am
27 Replies | Most Recent Add Your Reply
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Reply #1 - 01/06/11  9:43am
" Please consider seeing a doctor for a possible infection from contact with your boyfriend. I am certain that eczema is not contagious but there are other skin issues that accompany eczema, like bacterial & viral infections that are. I have been hospitalized a few times during outbreaks & have been quarenteened for both my own safety & the safety of others. You could also have contact dermatitis & are reacting to something (soap, clothing, deodorant...) that you've never come in contact with before. I am cautious around other people any time I have flareups but I don't consider that my condition is any more contagious than heart disease or diabetes. Please seek medical attention & your boyfriend may need to as well, any type of infection would be affecting his eczema.
Joe "
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Reply #2 - 01/07/11  6:24am
" Excema is not contagious at all. It is a dermatological condition, like psorisis (sp). This has been tested & proven time & again so please dont worry about "catching" excema. It is one of the hardest things for people with excema to explain to others.

I agree with reply #1 that it is more likely to be an infection that you or your bf may have.
Also I have seen other people start scratching & getting itchy when I am itchy.
Hope you can both go & see a Dr to check if there is any infection. Also hope we have set your mind at rest that you wont catch excema. "
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Reply #3 - 01/07/11  7:59am
" Thanks all. I'm still not too convinced but if post #1 is right then tht is still not much solace 2 b around someone with eczema. If there r other contagious infections related to eczema then it really isn't safe being around someone who has it. Don't u think?? "
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Reply #4 - 01/07/11  8:07pm
" I too am just going by my experience, I can only wish the FDA had answers for my eczema. I did not mean to imply that there are more contagions associated with eczema. There are contagions associated with every living thing on this planet. I had to go through testing for TB in college due to my very brief contact with a complete stranger from Asia. The next person you meet could have a cold sore. My then infant nephew shared his with me 30 years ago, it nearly killed me, really. He now has a wife & 4 children of his own, & I love him & his family dearly. Their oldest daughter contracted equine encephalitis this summer, it's very rare but, yes, it's apparently carried by mosquito from horses, we nearly lost her. By some miracle she's now nearly 100%, I've read it more often kills.
I don't mean to rant or be mean, but you need to come up with another excuse for not wanting to be around someone with eczema. My personal experience after 50+ years of having to live with this crap & "safely" living with my wife for the last 20 of those years, including skin-to-skin contact as often as I can, is that your boyfriend probably has more to fear from contact with you then you from him. I simply mentioned that he could have an infection, which you could get from anyone, but which may be more masked for him due to his eczema, so you should both get looked at, really, please let him know that. I apologize for not offering you more "solace", you are suffering with eczema in a way that I'm less in tune with, although I do know a number of people with various kinds of ailments and diseases, some relating to skin. I approach them from my own experience of dealing with my condition, I consider it to be the only real blessing I have ever had from this disease. This forum might offer some solace for your boyfriend, let him know about it, and please let us know what you find out.
Joe "
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Reply #5 - 01/08/11  12:48am
" Hi lovingly,

Please try not to take offense at this question, but are you looking for a way out of your relationship. I have to ask because it seems to me that maybe your boyfriend's eczema disgusts you and you may be having a hard time dealing with it. You should closely review anything that you ate or came into contact with during the time you started getting itchy. Consider that it could also be itching due to dryness because of the winter season. I hope that you experiencing the itching would make you more empathetic to what your boyfriend goes through. Please be aware that eczema can develop from your diet, if you are eating anything you are not aware that you are allergic to. Or as suggested by other writers, you may want to make sure you both don't have an infection. I also agree that although eczema is unsightly and people may shy away from contact with someone with eczema, the person suffering from eczema usually has more to fear than you do as that person is the one at greater risk of developing an infection. Again, please try not to take offense to what I am saying. I hope that you will be careful in the words you use to address this issue with your boyfriend, most of us with eczema already feel like lepers, we don't need our loved ones to make us feel worse by accusing us of giving them this "disease". And if you are looking for a way out of the relationship, maybe you could be careful about blaming his eczema. Remember that those of us who suffer would do almost anything to get rid of this condition if we could. We try our best to live with it and its not always easy. In just one year my body is a mess of scars and bumps, and the only way it has been bearable is that my husband sees beyond the scars and still thinks I'm beautiful even when the rest of the world, including myself, thinks I am not.

I hope that your itching goes away. Just to let you know I am a new sufferer, I developed eczema out of the blue about a year and a half ago. It is very difficult because I also understand how you feel. For the first six months of this condition, I did not hug my child unless I was covered up from neck to feet, including gloves and socks because I was so afraid of passing this on to her.

Good luck. "
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Reply #6 - 01/09/11  3:24am
" Hi there,

Several things could have caused you to break out like this- and, while it seems to be linked to his skin- it does not mean you have contracted eczema.

I have one of the worst cases of eczema my doctors- who serve the tri-state area and have called their colleagues in to see me- have seen. I've also had a boyfriend who I was very-- close- to. If eczema were contagious, (not that I believe it is, at all)- he'd have caught it long ago. I've known him for seven years.

As other people have already suggested, if it's linked to his skin, it could be a skin infection. Like mcjibtmj suggested, some things that people with eczema are Prone to are contagious- like, for example, staff infections.

However, there is another possible cause- but without knowing more details, I'll just have to be general. Your guy has eczema- I'm guessing he treats it somehow? If he's using, say, a topical prescription, or anything with an ingredient not found in lotions for people with normal skin, that ingredient could be causing irritation for you. Also, even though some people with eczema stick exclusively to hypoallergenic toiletries and laundry detergent, etc., not all of them do- so perhaps it's something he's using that is getting your skin to have this reaction..

And, obviously, there's always the chance (no matter how small it is) that this itchy rash has no connection to your boyfriend; anything's possible.

The bottom line is, I think that it's very difficult to definitively say What caused your rash- (I'm assuming your boyfriend hasn't only touched your arm?); so, while I can understand your concern, and Certainly sympathize with your itching (been there, xP), please don't write your rash off as eczema just yet. See if you can't try to figure some other connection, so that you can find the ultimate cause, and prevent the same thing from occurring again.

Best of luck!. "
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Reply #7 - 01/09/11  3:54am
" It is definitely NOT contagious, i have never ever been told by specialists or doctors that it is.

You are itching possibly seeing him itch. OR you are stressed yourself! Excema is often triggered by stress. Products you are using etc. It is quite a common skin condition, could be dermatitis for you or excema.

I really hope you aren't making him feel bad hun about his excema, for we are a paranoid, struggling bunch at the best of times with our skin issues. Be patient and get your skin sorted too :-)

I agree with the others, about if he has viral/bacterial it could be different of course.. "
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Reply #8 - 01/10/11  5:11pm
" No I'm not looking 4 a way out of my relationship with my bf. His eczema does not disgust me as my friend has it also. And I don't have a rash. It's just itching. And it's not becuz I see him scratch, I actually itch 2 the point where I have 2 rub my body down with alcohol. And NO IT'S NOT WINTER causing the itching. My country doesn't really have a winter season as we are now in the high 77 degrees farenheit. AND MY DIET IS NO DIFFERENT. So it's not my mind & I know I'm not going crazy. Something is not right.

I've just started itching since he & I started becoming very close, physically. "
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Reply #9 - 01/11/11  5:12am
" Hi Lovingly,
I am glad you are not looking at using excema as a way to get out of your relationship.
It seems you have made your mind up that it is not anything that can be suggested to you to be causing your itchyness.

The fact that it is itchy & no rash to me says it's not excema. Also the fact that you can put alcohol on the ithcy arm to me screams "not excema".
When I have excema even water hurts sometimes & to put anything like alcohol, antiseptics etc is totally painful through the roof. The podiatrist went to clean my foot & I had to warn hom to be careful what he uses as I have cracks on the bottom of my skin.

I am not saying that you are not itchy, just that it does not in any way sound like excema. You are not going crazy, just clutching at a straw that is most likely the wrong one as it is not contagious.
Excema can start at any age as it is a deratological condition but not caught.

I have had excema my whole life & very severe. Have been hospitalised lots for it, many times at various ages. Have had it on eye lids which closed my eyes (hospital), had it to the point I couldnt pee as it burnt the skin which was all open so had to go to hospital to have a catheter so that it would heal (was still at primary school & it terrified me). The last dermatologist I went to tried me on uv light therapy which was new at the time. my skin was so sensitive I got burnt in under 5 minutes. he wrote a paper on me & treatment & presented it to a dermatologist seminar (or whatever) overseas.

Reason I have put that in is to let you know that I do know that I do understand excema as most on this board do (or try to).

Please go to a Dr/dermatologist/naturopath to get tested & checked to see what is causing the itching as it is causing you distress.
Even if you dont say it to your bf, just you thinking about it that way could be making your relationship more strained because you are conscious of the scratching.
Remember we are not Dr's just people who suffer excema. Please dont take this the wrong way & do get it checked out. "
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Reply #10 - 01/11/11  8:48am
" @mcjib...."I don't mean to rant or be mean, but you need to come up with another excuse for not wanting to be around someone with eczema"

I don't know what is ur problem. I NEVER said I didn't want 2 b around my boyfriend. And I'm NOT coming up with excuses. THE ITCHING IS REAL. Even more so last nite. I was sitting & chatting with my family. My bf came over & sat next to me. I started rubbing his back & neck. After he left, the same hand I used to rub him started 2 itch intensely. This time my hand turned really red. This was not a dream ok. "

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