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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the differential diagnoses for herpetic whitlow?

Differential Diagnosis Herpetic whitlow is most commonly mistaken for paronychia (a localized bacterial abscess in the nail fold) or bacterial felon (digital pulp abscess). The pale-yellow color of the vesicles may suggest pyogenic infection, but incision or needle aspiration will not demonstrate frank pus.

What do you need to know about herpetic whitlow?

Herpetic whitlow is a finger infection. It's usually caused by the herpes virus that causes cold sores. It can spread to a finger from a cold sore in or around your mouth. Whitlow also can be caused by the virus that causes genital herpes. An area of your finger may be red. It may have a small group of blisters.

What causes herpetic whitlow?

Herpetic whitlow. Occasionally infection occurs on the toes or on the nail cuticle. Herpes whitlow can be caused by infection by HSV-1 or HSV-2. HSV-1 whitlow is often contracted by health care workers that come in contact with the virus; it is most commonly contracted by dental workers and medical workers exposed to oral secretions.

How long does herpetic whitlow last?

One or more fluid-filled vesicles on the finger, swelling, discomfort, or redness are characteristics of herpetic whitlow. It can be confused with a felon or paronychia since some symptoms are similar. 14,22 The virus usually resolves on its own in 10 to 14 days, so medical management does not involve surgery.

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