Ask a Nurse Expert Forum
herpetic whitlow
About This Forum:

WELCOME TO THE ASK A NURSE FORUM: This forum is for questions and discussions pertaining to Bones, Blood, Brain, Colorectal, Diagnostic Tests, Digestive, Ears, Eyes, Glands, Heart, Infectious Diseases, Kidneys, Liver, Lungs, Men’s Health, Muscles, Nose, Skin, Stomach, Surgery, Vaccines, Women’s Health

Font Size:
A
A
A
Background:
Blank
Blank
Blank
This expert forum is not accepting new questions. Please post your question in one of our medical support communities.
Blank Blank

herpetic whitlow

I am 46 & I have had herpes since I was 32 yrs old.  I believe I also have herpetic whitlow.  I have had 3 minor outbreaks on my fingers only.  The bumps are very small & appear in groups of 1-3.  They never leaks and I have not notice any crusty scabs, ever. The area is itchy though.  My concern is my daughter.  Can I still transmit it to her during these minorbreakouts, thru touching of same objects or pass objects hand to hand.  Pls let me know.
Related Discussions
796253_tn?1344994932
Hi and thanks for using the forum.

Herpetic whitlow can be caused by either HSV1 or HSV2.  It is contagious with direct contact to infected body fluids via a break in the skin.  Usually the "bumps" or vessicles are grouped and they are usually fluid filled.  The vessicles usually appear for about 7-10 days during which time they can rupture and leak fluid.  After about 10-14 days, the vessicles will usually dry up, crust over and heal.   Herpetic whitlow is often diagnosed based on the characteristic appearance of the rash and the patients history.  Culture can be obtained to confirm the diagnosis.  Treatment is usually done for relief of symptoms, the outbreak will clear up on its own.  

Since you have never noticed any leaking fluid or any crusting over, I think you should get the rash checked out by your doctor.  It may not be herpetic whitlow.  If it is herpetic whitlow, you could transmit it to your daughter if she comes in direct contact with the lesions so while the rash is present you should keep it covered to prevent contact.  Hope this helps.

Bridget
5 Comments
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Hi Grace,
I hope this is continuing from my original post.  Thank you for all the information on "herpetic whitlow"  I have read ALOT since then.  The one question that has not been answered too often is :
1) At what point is the lesion or point of outbreak no longer infectious of contagious?  I have read in a place or two that it is when the area beings to "crust over".
2) I have also read that only the point of outbreak is infectious, not my entire hand?
3) My noticeable outbreaks of herpetic whitlow have been so few over 10-15 years, will it remain the same?
Do you have any information?  Thanks you in advance.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Hi Bridget,

Sorry, I initially addressed this question to Grace and I then I noticed you were the person who answered my initial post. I hope this is continuing from my original post.  Thank you for all the information on "herpetic whitlow"  I have read ALOT since then.  The one question that has not been answered too often is :
1) At what point is the lesion or point of outbreak no longer infectious of contagious?  I have read in a place or two that it is when the area beings to "crust over".
2) I have also read that only the point of outbreak is infectious, not my entire hand?
3) My noticeable outbreaks of herpetic whitlow have been so few over 10-15 years, will it remain the same?
Do you have any information?  Thanks you in advance.
Blank
796253_tn?1344994932
1.) You are right, when the area starts to crust or scab over, it is no longer contagious.

2.) The lesions are contagious, the parts of your hand that are not affected are not contagious.

3.)  Generally speaking, the initial outbreak of herpetic whitlow is the most symptomatic and any outbreaks after that (if they occur) are much milder.  I honestly don't know what the statistics are for recurrence.

Hope this helps.

Bridget
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Hello Bridget,

Thanks for answering my question so quickly. This site is very helpful. I do have a question about asymptomatice shedding of the Herpes virus as it relates to Herpetic Whitlow.  I understand some things about viral shedding, but I'm unsure if HSV-2 in the place of Herpetic Whitlow sheds on the hands the same why as genital or oral herpes?  During this time of shedding would the virus on my hand be infectious to others even if I don't have an active outbreak?
Blank
This Forum's Experts
5289563_tn?1366052034
Cathleen Zoretic, RNBlankBlank
MedHelp Health Answers
Blank
Weight Tracker
Weight Tracker
Start Tracking Now
RSS Expert Activity
233488_tn?1310696703
Blank
New Cannabis Article from NORTH Mag...
Jul 20 by John C Hagan III, MD, FACS, FAAOBlank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
3 Reasons Why You are Still Binge E...
Jul 14 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Emotional Eating: What Your Closet ...
Jul 09 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank