When Should I Go To Emergency For Eczema?

If you’ve ever experienced the relentless itchiness, redness, and discomfort of eczema, you know just how frustrating it can be. But when does this common skin condition become a true emergency? It’s important to know the signs and symptoms that warrant a trip to the emergency room, ensuring you get the timely and appropriate care you need. In this article, we’ll guide you through the key indicators that should prompt you to seek emergency medical attention for your eczema flare-ups.

Severe Symptoms

If you are experiencing severe symptoms related to your eczema, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. These symptoms may indicate a more serious condition or an infection that requires immediate treatment. Some severe symptoms of eczema include:


A high fever accompanying your eczema can be a sign of an infection. If you have a temperature above 100.4°F (38°C), it is crucial to seek medical help as soon as possible.

Pus or Discharge

The presence of pus or discharge from your eczema patches may indicate a bacterial infection. If you notice any yellow or green fluid oozing from your skin, it is important to have it evaluated by a healthcare professional to prevent further complications.

Increasing Pain

While eczema can be uncomfortable, if you experience an abrupt increase in pain or if the pain becomes unbearable, it may be a sign of a more serious issue. Do not hesitate to visit the emergency room if this occurs.

Red Streaks

If you notice red streaks spreading outward from your eczema patches, it is essential to seek immediate medical attention. This could be a sign of cellulitis, a bacterial skin infection that can quickly worsen if left untreated.

Enlarged Lymph Nodes

Swollen or tender lymph nodes near your eczema patches may indicate an infection. If you feel hard or painful lumps in the affected area, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional promptly.

Worsening Symptoms

While eczema flare-ups are common, certain worsening symptoms may require immediate medical attention. If your condition deteriorates rapidly or if the following symptoms become severe, it is important to seek urgent care:

Intense Itching

Although itching is a characteristic symptom of eczema, if the itchiness becomes unbearable and does not respond to over-the-counter treatments, it may be necessary to visit the emergency department for more intensive management.


If you notice significant swelling in and around your eczema patches, it could be a sign of an allergic reaction or infection. Seek medical attention promptly to determine the cause and receive appropriate treatment.

Crusting or Oozing

When your eczema begins to crust or ooze, it can further increase the risk of infection. If you observe a significant amount of yellow or clear fluid or develop a thick, honey-colored crust on your skin, it is important to have it assessed by a healthcare professional.


In severe cases of eczema, the skin becomes fragile and prone to bleeding. If your eczema patches start bleeding and the bleeding does not stop with gentle pressure, it is recommended to seek medical assistance immediately.

Non-healing Sores

Eczema can cause open sores or ulcers on the skin, which typically heal within a reasonable timeframe. However, if you notice that your sores are not healing as expected or if they appear to worsen, it is advisable to seek medical evaluation to prevent any potential complications.

Sudden Flare-ups

Sudden and unexpected flare-ups of eczema can be distressing. If you experience a sudden worsening of your eczema symptoms that cannot be managed with your usual treatments, you may need to consider seeking medical attention. While not an emergency, a healthcare professional can help determine if any additional treatment options are necessary to bring your eczema back under control.

Unresponsive to Treatment

If your eczema does not improve or worsens despite following your prescribed treatment plan, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional. They can evaluate the effectiveness of your current treatment and provide guidance on alternative options that may better manage your condition.

Extreme Pain

While eczema can cause discomfort, if you are experiencing extreme pain that affects your daily activities and is unrelieved by over-the-counter pain medications or topical treatments, it is recommended to seek medical assistance. A healthcare professional can assess the severity of your pain and provide appropriate pain management strategies.

Difficulty Breathing

Although rare, some individuals with severe eczema may experience difficulty breathing. If you are struggling to breathe or notice wheezing or a tight feeling in your chest in conjunction with an eczema flare-up, it is essential to immediately seek medical attention. Difficulty breathing can be a sign of a severe allergic reaction or other underlying respiratory issues.

Visible Skin Infection

If your eczema patches become noticeably infected, with increased redness, swelling, warmth, and tenderness, it is important not to ignore these signs. Infected eczema requires medical treatment with prescription antibiotics to prevent the infection from spreading and worsening. Seeking urgent care can help prevent potential complications and promote proper healing.

Persistent Rash

While eczema often presents as a rash that comes and goes, a persistent rash that does not respond to treatment could signal a more serious condition or an allergic reaction to the prescribed medications. If you have a persistent rash that continues to worsen or does not improve despite treatment, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional for further evaluation.

Suspected Allergic Reaction

If you suspect that you are experiencing an allergic reaction to a specific trigger or a newly prescribed medication, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention. Severe allergic reactions can lead to life-threatening symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, swelling of the face or throat, and hives. Prompt medical intervention is necessary to prevent further complications and ensure your safety.

Remember, while eczema is a chronic condition, it is important to be aware of when your symptoms require immediate medical attention. Trust your instincts, and if you have any concerns about the severity of your symptoms, do not hesitate to seek medical help. Your healthcare provider is there to support you and provide the appropriate care for your eczema-related issues.