In this article you will read about the treatment for herpetic whitlow or whitlow finger, precautions, risk factors and complications in herpetic whitlow or whitlow finger.

Treatment for Herpetic Whitlow or Whitlow Finger

Treatment for Herpetic Whitlow or Whitlow Finger

Herpetic whitlow or whitlow finger is a self limiting condition. The treatment for herpetic whitlow or whitlow finger is primarily focused on relieving the symptoms. The other objectives in the treatment for herpetic whitlow or whitlow finger include prevention of virus transmission and oral inoculation.

Many of the HSV infections including herpetic whitlow or whitlow finger are easily treated by the doctor but sometimes a part of the skin which contains the virus is taken for further testing. Blood tests are also conducted.

Usually the HSV infections including herpetic whitlow or whitlow finger go away on their own but medicines are prescribed to lower the pain and symptoms. There is no cure for HSV virus infection.

However, it is a kind of disease which eventually gets wiped out on its own but even then, physicians put patient under antibiotic medication in a way to reduce symptoms and restrict the further spread of infection. The medicines which are prescribed for herpetic whitlow or whitlow finger are:

  • Topical acyclovir ointment
  • Acyclovir pills
  • Famciclovir pills
  • Val acyclovir pills

Above mentioned medicines for herpetic whitlow or whitlow finger are some of the antiviral drugs which are suggested to be taken for 7-14 days schedule. Recurrent herpetic whitlow or whitlow finger, which is very rare in nature, can also be treated well with above given medicines.

If the areas are more infected with bacteria, then the condition is said to be much severe herpetic whitlow or whitlow finger circumstances, which is required to be treated with oral antibiotic medication.

People capable of identifying the early symptoms (prodromes) of recurrent herpetic whitlow or whitlow finger can effectively treat them through episode treatment or by starting medication immediately after the onset of burning and tingling, but prior to the emergence of sores and blisters.

Recurrent herpetic whitlow or whitlow finger is rarest in nature but once it occurs, it has a very severe adverse effects followed by frequent outbreaks. These severe and frequent outbreaks are required to be restricted through suppressive therapy, under which medication for herpetic whitlow or whitlow finger is advised to be taken on daily basis.

Precautions to be taken for Herpetic Whitlow or Whitlow Finger

Herpetic whitlow or whitlow finger is a contagious disease and spread among the masses through establishing contact or coming in contact with the affected or infected person. It is also advised that the patient or people, having any sort of genital, oral and labial lesion, should take safety measures about the cause of such lesions. Gloving and proper hand wash are capable of restricting this infection among the masses potentially.

Before discharging any patient with herpetic whitlow or whitlow finger, after the completion of their treatment, a complete assessment regarding full recovery and any evidence of complication should be cross checked, so as to eliminate any chance of recurrence and spread out of herpetic whitlow or whitlow finger infection.

A balance and complete diet is necessary to boost up the immune system, so that it can prevent and resist the HSV virus. In case of experiencing the enumerated symptoms of the herpetic whitlow or whitlow finger, certain precautions are required to taken at priority basis:

  • Immediately stop sharing the belonging of an affected person, such as towels.
  • Avoid using of contact lenses.
  • Make sure that the infected area should be covered with a plaster.
  • Avoid holding or shaking hands.

Will Herpetic Whitlow or Whitlow Finger Come Back?

A herpes virus can exist within a nerve cell in dormant or inactive condition and can get active at later date as well. This dormant virus is reactive with the general health ailments such as stress and other sort of illness. Any of the dormant herpes whitlow viruses can result in another herpetic whitlow or whitlow finger attack, at the same place, with stress like medical conditions.

Recurred herpetic whitlow or whitlow finger virus can be treated in similar way as discussed above and with the very same medicines as well. But, in case of recurrence, antiviral drugs are, often; keep on regular medication for long duration of time so that it can prevent another frequent occurrence of the whitlow virus, to the patient, in near future. This prolonged antiviral suppressive medication reduces the severity and duration of healing a viral infection both.

Risk Factors for Herpetic Whitlow or Whitlow Finger

There can be numerous factors that can lead to recurrence of herpetic whitlow or whitlow finger on thumb as well as on index finger. Patient often complaints about swelling of finger with intense pain that is characterized by vesicular lesions. Medical history of malaise and fever may proceed since the beginning of the symptoms up to many days. Similar symptoms, as of earlier, with same magnitude are the indications of erstwhile sort of HSV recurrence.

Although the mortality rate is almost negligible but cases of wrong diagnosis has been recorded. Morbidity is chiefly associated with iatrogenic or severe infection due to wrong incision as well as drainage, as an outcome of erroneous diagnosis as bacterial paronychia. Such erroneous diagnosis also includes late medical consultation, augmented conditions for server bacterial infection and eventually spread as well as development of herpes encephalitis.

Other risk factors for herpetic whitlow or whitlow finger include:

  • Sex: male and female are equally entitled for the herpetic whitlow or whitlow finger.
  • Age: Newborns and kids usually make their hands in oral contact by putting fingers into mouth. Kids having existing conditions of herpes labialis are at greater risk for the infection of herpetic whitlow or whitlow finger.
  • Medical histories of genital or oral secretion in healthcare workers are also at huge risk for herpetic whitlow or whitlow finger.
  • People in contact with the patients of existing infections can also be the subject of risk for herpetic whitlow or whitlow finger.
  • Autoinoculation is a common cause for herpetic whitlow or whitlow finger in children, recent episodes associated with herpes labialis should be examined with care. History of symptoms related to genital herpes is required to be medically considered in case of adults.

Complications in Herpetic Whitlow or Whitlow Finger

The following are the complications of herpetic whitlow or whitlow finger:

  • In case of HIV patients, HSV infection has very harsh complications if herpetic whitlow or whitlow finger gets the company of pneumonia and encephalitis. These couple of diseases is adept to deliver most severe consequences, especially with the low immunity people or patients.
  • Wrongful diagnosis of herpes encephalitis followed by profound surgical incision, leads to adverse outcomes. It will only cause the augmented super-infections, which is a rare category of infection, and potential advancement of herpes encephalitis.
  • People having previous experiences of more than one herpetic whitlow or whitlow finger infections and recovered, use to complain about decrease sensation or keen perception to pain over affected body part.
  • Marks or scars at infected parts are the complications of herpetic whitlow or whitlow finger.
  • There is an increased chance of spreading HSV infection to other parts such as finger and eyes, if patient do not take care by preventing infected body parts, getting in contact with other body parts.

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Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: May 3, 2016

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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