A whitlow is a highly contagious infection on the end of the finger. It is caused by the herpes simplex virus and it is always painful.
Also known as herpetic whitlow, it develops on the end of the finger. It usually affects the index finger or the thumb.
A whitlow occurs when the broken skin on the finger comes in direct contact with body fluids infected with the herpes simplex virus which may be from you or someone else.
The symptoms exhibited by herpetic whitlow include a tingling sensation or itching, pain, redness, swelling and fluid filled blisters.
You can also feel unwell with a fever and have enlarged nymph nodes on your armpit. All these indicate signs of a serious infection.
The herpetic whitlow symptoms don’t develop immediately you get it. The virus can remain in the skin for up to three weeks before the symptoms begin to develop.
A whitlow will clear off between two to three weeks without treatment. If you have pain and itching, you can see a doctor to get medications for it.
Once your skin is infected, the whitlow can keep coming back but the first infection is always the one with the most severe symptoms.
The infection can spread to other fingers or to your eyes if you rub it with the infected finger.
Scarring can occur as a result of repeated infection on the skin of the hand. If you experience frequent or severe infections, your doctor may prescribe antiviral medications for you.