Infected Eczema Action Plan

Infected Eczema Action Plan

Find out about the signs of infected eczema, how to care of infected eczema and when to go back to your doctor or nurse.


Signs of infected eczema

See your doctor or nurse if you think your child's eczema is infected:
  • weeping crusted areas
  • lots of pustules (yellow or white pimples)
  • sudden flaring of eczema all over the body
  • shivering, painful skin
  • painful chicken pox-like blisters and sores - this can be the cold sore virus - see your doctor urgently

Care of infected eczema

Antibiotic medicine/tablets

  • take the antibiotic every day until it is finished

Bath or shower

  • bath or shower every day to clean the skin
  • use warm water and a soft cloth to gently soak and lift off any crusts
  • use a soap-free wash such as non-ionic cream, aqueous cream, emulsifying ointment - don't use soap and bubble bath as these make the skin dry
  • antiseptic baths 2 times a week can help

See when and how to use bleach baths for your child with eczema

Steroid creams and ointments

  • apply steroid to all red and itchy skin (active eczema) once a day - immediately after the bath is best
  • use enough to make the skin shiny

When the skin is no longer red and itchy stop using the steroid but keep moisturising - if eczema comes back start using the steroid again.


  • smooth on lots of moisturiser many times a day to keep the skin soft - apply all over, not just where there is eczema
  • aim to finish a 500g tub every 2 to 3 weeks

When to go back to your doctor/nurse

  • if the infection is not improving after 2 to 3 days of treatment
  • if other people in the house have skin infections - they also need to get treatment
  • if your child is missing school, getting lots of skin infections or not sleeping well because of eczema

Infected eczema action plan for printing

Printable one page action plan on infected eczema (PDF, 423KB)

Thumbnail image of 'Infected eczema' handout

Check all eczema content

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This content has been developed and approved by the Clinical Reference Group for the Paediatric Society NZ's Eczema Clinical Network, Te Rōpū Kiripai Hapori.

This page last reviewed 04 August 2022.

Call Healthline on 0800 611 116 any time of the day or night for free health advice when you need it