Herpetic Whitlow – Pictures, Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Having a painful lesion on one of your fingers or thumb? You may be suffering from the Herpetic Whitlow disease. Read on to know what is Herpetic Whitlow, what causes Herpetic Whitlow, what are the Herpetic Whitlow signs and more.

Herpetic Whitlow Definition

Herpetic Whitlow is an infection caused by the Herpetic Whitlow virus – Herpes Simplex Virus 1 and 2. Health care workers like dentists are the main sufferers of this condition. It is a very painful condition and can impair daily activities of a person for several days at a stretch.

Herpetic Whitlow Location

Herpetic Whitlow images
Picture 1 – Herpetic Whitlow Finger of an Infant
Source – blogspot

Herpetic Whitlow disease affects hands of individuals. It is mainly seen to attack fingers and thumbs of a person, whether children or adults.

Is Herpetic Whitlow Rare?

It is a very rare disease and affects only 2-5 in about 100,000 people. The condition shows no preference for any gender. One can mainly see Herpetic Whitlow in children and toddlers who are in the habit of sucking finger or thumb. Herpetic Whitlow in adults is rare.

Herpetic Whitlow Symptoms


The disease mainly starts with a painful swelling on one or more fingers in the sufferer.


The affected region of the skin also turns red. Redness is a common symptom of Herpetic Whitlow.


In some cases, there are lesions over the affected area of the finger or thumb.


The entire region can be tender to touch. In most patients the sensation can be more of pain than tenderness. There is also a tingling and burning sensation in the Herpetic Whitlow vesicles in some people.


Pain and swelling in Herpetic Whitlow finger or thumb can also be accompanied with higher body temperatures in rare cases.

Swollen Lymph Nodes

Rarely, Herpetic Whitlow patients can also suffer from inflammation of lymph nodes under their arm.

Herpetic Whitlow Causes

Herpetic Whitlow mainly results from an infection by the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) 1 and Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) 2. These viruses are mainly found in oral or genital secretions. Health care workers like dentists are constantly exposed to the virus and suffer from the condition.

People with low immunity are also at risk from this disease. In sufferers of Herpetic Whitlow HIV patients form a high percentage.

In children, the orofacial area is the primary region of HSV infection. Sucking or chewing the thumbs or fingers transmits the virus into these areas from the mouth.

Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) 1 is the main cause of infection in children while Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) 2 is the reason behind infection in adults and adolescents.

Herpetic Whitlow Treatment

Herpetic Whitlow cases normally clear up without any treatment in a month or a little longer. But if the symptoms are very painful and take a long time to heal, treatment may be necessary. Treatment for Herpetic Whitlow include


Analgesics are useful in reducing painful symptoms in patients.

Antiviral Medicines

Antiviral drugs are administered to people to kill the Herpes Simplex virus that has infected the body of the sufferer. Topical application of antiviral medicines like Acyclovir can be quite effective in reducing the symptoms.


Application of Dynamiclear after outbreak of the lesions can clear away the infection in 3 days.

Propyderm NF Cream

Application of Propyderm NF cream for a month or two is found to cure the condition completely.

Herpetic Whitlow Oral Medications

These oral medicines are quite popular as Herpetic Whitlow remedies.

Oral Spray

Applying the homeopathic oral sprays like Herpiset thrice a day can also result in a reduction of the symptoms.

Oral Antiviral Medicines

Application of oral antiviral creams and medicines can also quicken the healing process.

Herpetic Whitlow Home Treatment

photos of Herpetic Whitlow
Picture 2 – Herpetic Whitlow Hand
Source – medscape

Looking for good herpetic whitlow home remedies? Know about some of the main herpetic whitlow natural remedies that you can use to get rid of this disorder.

Ice Packs

Pressing ice packs against the swollen lesions in the initial stages can help reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Cold compresses are found to be quite effective in treating painful symptoms.

Improved Diet

Incorporating essential proteins, vitamins and minerals to the diet of the patient can make it well-rounded and boost the immunity of the sufferer.

Herpetic Whitlow Medications

As aforesaid, Herpetic Whitlow medicines consist mainly of antiviral drugs, creams, oral sprays and analgesics. These reduce symptoms caused by Herpes Simplex virus infection and also help in curing the condition by preventing the virus from spreading.

How Long Does Herpetic Whitlow Last?

Herpetic Whitlow duration is generally of a few weeks. With effective treatment, it goes away much faster. Generally, it does not last more than 1-2 months. But in people with compromised immunity, Herpetic Whitlow healing period can be much longer.

Is Herpetic Whitlow Curable?

Herpetic Whitlow is completely curable. In most cases, Herpetic Whitlow cure is not needed. It is a self-limiting disease and goes away on its own after a limited period of time.

Herpetic Whitlow Recurrence

Herpetic Whitlow can come back in some cases and stay for 7-10 days. However, the chance of recurrence in this case is not as high as in Oral or Genital Herpes infection. In Herpetic Whitlow chance of recurrence is very rare.

Herpetic Whitlow Risk Factors

In case of Herpetic Whitlow complications are very rare. But in people with immunity deficiency, the Herpes infection may spread to other areas of the body and give rise to serious complexities. Such patients constantly need to be on guard and get professional medical help even in the early stages of the disorder.

Is Herpetic Whitlow Infectious?

Herpetic Whitlow is an infectious disease. It is caused by a Herpes Simplex virus infection and can spread from one localized region to other parts of the body.

Can Herpetic Whitlow Spread?

Herpetic Whitlow transmission is possible. It spreads from Herpes Simplex Virus present in oral or genital secretions in humans.

Herpetic Whitlow Pictures

Want to know what does Herpetic Whitlow look like? Here are some Herpetic Whitlow images that you may find useful. Check out these Herpetic Whitlow photos and get an idea about the appearance of the disease.

Herpetic Whitlow photos
Image 3 – Herpetic Whitlow in Children
Source – blogspot

pictures of Herpetic Whitlow
Photo 4 – Herpetic Whitlow Picture
Source – skinsight

If you are having a Herpetic Whitlow case in your family or are suffering from it yourself, you can try out some remedies at home. If there is no sign of improvement even after 4-5 days, you should visit a doctor. Early treatment will save you from a lot of complications in future and help you recover much faster.







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