Infection of one or more fingers with a virus can cause an infection called herpetic whitlow.
The viruses that also cause cold sores are usually the cause of a viral finger infection. The viruses are called herpes simplex. Most often the virus starts in a child’s mouth and then enters the fingers through a break in the skin. For example, a child’s finger might get infected when a child sucks a thumb or other finger.
Symptoms may include:
Your child's healthcare provider will ask about your child's medical history and symptoms. Your provider will examine your child. Your child may also have blood tests or a swab of the fluid from the sore to see if the infection is caused by a virus or by bacteria.
The infection usually gets better without special treatment.
Your healthcare provider may prescribe antiviral medicine. One form of the medicine is put on the skin. Your child may also need to take antiviral medicine by mouth to keep the blisters from coming back.
The infection should get better in 2 to 4 weeks. However, the virus stays in the body and so the infection could come back. Usually repeat infections are milder and heal more quickly.
Follow your child’s healthcare provider's instructions.
You can give your child acetaminophen or ibuprofen for both fever and pain.
The fluid in the blisters is infectious. Cover the blisters with a bandage. You can also cover the bandage with clothing (such as gloves or socks) to protect others at school or to keep your child from spreading the virus to other parts of their body during sleep.
Ask your child’s provider:
Make sure you know when your child should come back for a checkup.
The virus is usually spread from other parts of the body. The best way to prevent the infection is to avoid biting the nails or sucking the fingers, especially when there’s a cold sore present.