Whitlow is scientifically called ‘Paronychia’. This condition is found on the fingers near the nails and is extremely painful and contagious. The tingling sensation caused due to whitlow in the fingers is extremely bad and could be compared with pain that is caused due to severe headache. This condition is caused in the finger tips due to ‘herpes simplex virus’. Thus, it is also called ‘Herpetic whitlow’.
Both the types of herpes simplex virus – Type 1 and Type 2 can cause herpetic whitlow. It occurs when the skin is broken on fingertips and it comes directly into contact with the body fluids infected herpes virus.
Some symptoms of whitlow include intense pain, itching, swelling or redness on the fingertips. Small blisters can also be seen. Some general symptoms accompanied with whitlow include swollen lymph nodes, fever, red streaking on arms. If these symptoms are seen, it indicates a significant infection.
Though, the problem of whitlow resolves within two to three weeks without treatment. If you need help from medical practitioner, then he might prescribe you some medications which can reduce pain and swelling. If you experience repeated episodes of whitlow, then he might give you a course of antiviral medication to prevent severe symptoms of its future occurrences.
Home Remedies for Whitlow
If you have got whitlow on your fingertip, then you can follow the following given household medicines and natural methods:
1. Soaking the fingers in anti-bacterial solution:
- Take a bowl and fill it half with warm water and fifty percent anti-bacterial liquid soap
- Dip your wounded fingers in this solution for 15 minutes and should be done thrice daily
- This remedy gives best result when signs of redness appears first around the nail
2. Magnesium Sulphate:
- Take a suitable antiseptic and clean the infected area
- Get a tube of magnesium sulphate from the chemist and apply a generous amount on the affected area and cover with cotton wool or lint. Apply a bandage over the covering that should be changed and repeated over a period of time
- If the symptoms still persist, you can consult a medical practitioner as there can be need of antibiotics
- Take a lemon and make a hole into it
- Now, insert the affected finger into this hole for about 10 minutes and it should be done twice daily for quick healing
4. Rice flour and linseed oil:
- Make a poultice from rice flour and linseed oil
- Apply this poultice to the affected area for quick relief
5. Chebulic mryoblan:
- Prepare a concoction using Chebulic myroblan and tamarind juice
- The astringent and acidic action of this concoction helps in curing the problem
- This concoction should be applied on the affected area for immediate relief
How to Reduce Risk of Whitlow
You can always reduce the risk of whitlow and also prevent the contamination of herpes simplex virus to other people by following the given ways:
- Always use clean towels and change all clothing if suffering from genital or oral herpes
- Avoid direct contact with exposed herpes lesions, including genital lesions or cold sores
- Avoid sucking or chewing the thumb or fingers
- Avoid nail biting
- Take care while cutting the nails so as to avoid skin cut
- During herpes outbreak, cover any wound with a bandage to prevent spread of the infection into the broken skin
- Develop habit of washing hands frequently
- Safe sex should be practiced
- Take a healthy diet to accelerate recuperation
The above are a few of the cures for whitlow that you can adopt during herpes simplex virus outbreak and most of them are easily available in your home kitchen.