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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. Your finger also may hurt, itch, or tingle.
Your finger should get better on its own. This may take a few weeks. But whitlow may come back to the same area of your finger.
Your doctor may prescribe medicines to help fight the herpes virus. You may be asked to cover your finger with a bandage. This can avoid spreading the infection.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:
Current as of: February 9, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Elizabeth T. Russo MD - Internal Medicine & William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
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