Have you ever been infected with Whitlow before or you know someone who has had this rare condition before now? Indeed, it is not a sweet experience. Medical practitioners regard it as a painful skin infection which usually appears on your fingers. It is popularly called herpetic whitlow. Whitlow was discovered to be caused by a virus known as herpes simplex and you must understand that Virus infection like HIV do not have cures, they are best prevented.

There are two kinds of viruses that lead to herpetic whitlows. They are known as type 1 and type 2. Whitlow was found out to spread to others through close contact and especially through body fluid with anyone suffering from this condition.

Experts noted that, A herpetic whitlow can develop as a secondary infection if you already have a cold sore or genital herpes and you touch the sore area of skin, transferring the virus from your mouth or genitals to your finger and that it can also develop if you touch the sore or blister of another infected person and that you’re at greater risk of becoming infected if you have a weakened immune system.

You must know that you have Whitlow when there is an obvious swelling below your finger nails accompanied with severe pains and also characterised with blisters all over your fingers with obvious fluids. The finger is seemingly red as well.

Medical experts indicated that a herpetic whitlow may be treated with an antiviral drug such as acyclovir and that you may be prescribed a five or seven day course of 200mg aciclovir to take five times a day or 400mg to take three times a day. But this is only worth taking if you start the treatment within 48 hours of symptoms starting. Using an antiviral after this initial period is unlikely to have any effect. Antiviral drugs may help to heal a herpetic whitlow, but they do not get rid of the herpes simplex virus or prevent future outbreaks of herpes simplex viral infection.

A whitlow will heal without an antiviral drug within two to three weeks. Antiviral treatment may:

  • reduce the time taken for the abscess to heal
  • reduce your risk of a secondary bacterial infection
  • reduce your risk of the herpes simplex virus spreading to other parts of the body

We were also made to understand that, when you are diagnosed with whitlow and you intend to take care of it at home,

You should cover the whitlow with a light dressing so the infection doesn’t spread any further.

Avoid wearing contact lenses until the infection has healed, to stop the virus spreading to your eyes.

You can take an over-the-counter painkiller such as paracetamol or ibuprofen for pain relief.

Do not attempt to drain the fluid, as this may cause the virus to spread or cause a bacterial infection.

Although prevention is always preferable to cure, it is best to take preventive measure to ensure that it doesn’t spread to other parts of your body by maintaining proper hygiene and sanitation.