What You Need to Know About Eschar

What Is Eschar?

Eschar is a bacterial infection caused by Rickettsia prowazekii bacteria. It’s most common symptoms are redness, swelling, pain and tenderness at the site of the bite or scratch. Other symptoms include fever, chills and headache. The disease usually affects children under 5 years old but it can affect adults too.

The bacteria causes skin lesions called erythema migrans (EM). These lesions may appear anywhere on the body from head to toe. They are typically found along the trunk, limbs and face.

Erythema migrans is sometimes mistaken for sunburn or even cancer. It usually begins with small bumps, then spreads over several days until there is no trace left of them. The rash will start out white and gradually turn black or brown depending upon where the bite occurred.

Eschar is not contagious. However, it can spread from person to person through close contact. People who have been bitten by the infected animal are more likely to get the illness than those who were exposed only once or rarely.

The risk increases if the affected area was scratched or bitten repeatedly during a short period of time.

How Is Eschar Treated?

There are two main types of treatments for eschar: antiseptic and anti-fungal drugs. The method of treatment will depend on the kind of eschar that appears on the skin.

The most common drugs for treating eschar are Fluconazole and Itraconazole. When taken orally they can reduce the growth of the infection and heal the wound completely. If this is not possible, then the drug may work by forming a protective barrier over wounds or sores and preventing the growth of fungus in these areas.

Sometimes, if treatment is not working then people may be given either Etanercept or Adalimumab. These drugs work by suppressing the immune system temporarily and treating the symptoms of eschar with skin grafts or plastic surgery.

How Is It Treated?

To treat it naturally you should apply tincture of iodine directly to the wound three times a day. Make sure that you do not get any inside your mouth as this could cause an upset stomach. If this does not work then try mixing garlic cloves in water and applying it to the wound three times a day. If this is ineffective, try applying calendula ointment or tea tree oil to the wound three times a day.

If this does not work, the best way to treat it is by visiting your doctor as soon as possible. They can give you medication that will kill the infection and prevent it from spreading to other parts of your body.

How Can You Prevent Getting It?

The best way to prevent getting it is by avoiding contact with infected animals or insect bites. The most common animals that spread the infection are dogs, cats, rats, raccoons and squirrels. It’s important if the animal has a bite or scratch to immediately wash the area with soap and water. You should also seek medical attention at your nearest hospital.

Other ways to prevent getting it is by using insect repellent on the skin or protective clothing if you’re in an area with a lot of insects. You should remove ticks as soon as possible and do not pick them up with your hands.

Sources & references used in this article:

Distribution of eschar in pediatric scrub typhus by W Rose, RJ Rajan, A Punnen… – Journal of tropical …, 2016 – academic.oup.com

The pregnancy experience of gay couples expecting a child through overseas surrogacy by I Ziv, Y Freund-Eschar – The Family Journal, 2015 – journals.sagepub.com

A prospective study on distribution of eschar in patients suspected of scrub typhus by KC Munegowda, S Nanda, M Varma, I Bairy… – Tropical …, 2014 – journals.sagepub.com

Advantages of immediate excision of burn eschar by JE Greenwood – Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, 2020 – journals.sagepub.com