Herpes is a viral infection caused by herpes virus 1 (HSV 1) and herpes virus 2 (HSV 2). It is a contagious disease and transmitted from one person to another through contact. HSV1 infection is also called herpes simplex.
The condition is characterized by eruptions of tiny fluid filled painful bumps. Herpes can occur on any part of body, when present in and around oral cavity it is called cold sores and when present on hands and fingers it is called herpetic whitlow or finger herpes.
The lesions of herpes may come and go many times with a period of remission in between the two episodes.Recurrence is frequently observed in people with low immunity. Treatment consists of alleviating the symptoms and reducing the time interval of the disease, but the virus cannot be killed once it enters into your body.
How Do You Get Herpes On Your Hands?
Herpes infection on hands and finger can affect people of all age group, race and gender. Herpes virus belongs to the same family of virus that is responsible for chickenpox infection. After an episode of chickenpox the virus stays a dormant life in the body. It resides in spinal nerve roots without causing any harm to the nerves.However under favorable circumstances it can get reactivated to produce symptoms of herpes.
The virus tends to get activated when your immune system is weak. Herpes virus spreads through direct contact with an infected person. Avoid touching the lesions as it can spread from one area of the body to another.
Herpes on hands is more common in children if they have habit of finger and thumb sucking. Herpes infection in this case spreads from cold sores on lips and mouth. Dental workers are at risk of suffering from herpes infection if their hand comes in contact with an infected person having herpes infection on lips and inside the mouth.
Signs And Symptoms Of Herpes On Hands
The symptoms of herpes infection are manifested along the peripheral nerve that is linked to the specific spinal nerve root. Herpes on hands is most likely to occur on fingertips and thumb. It may sometimes also occur on palmar area of the hand.
The symptoms manifest one to two weeks after exposure to the virus. Unusual burning and tingling sensation is common symptom of herpes on hands. After one or two days the area becomes red and inflamed. Within few days after redness you may notice tiny bumps filled with fluid on the affected part.
Along with the blisters patient may have mild fever, body ache, swelling in underarm lymph nodes, etc. The symptoms usually alleviate within 10 days. Chances of recurrence are less, but may occur under certain conditions such as weak immunity, stress, sun exposure, change in body hormones, etc.
Treatment Options For Herpes On Hands
Herpes virus cannot be killed with any medication, therefore the main aim of treatment is to alleviate the discomforting symptoms and encourage early healing of blisters. Use of antiviral ointments and oral tablets are effective in alleviating the symptoms.
Aside from conventional antiviral remedies that your medical consultant prescribes, there are effective natural remedies for herpes on hands. Cornstarch is one of them. Prepare a paste of cornstarch by mixing water. Apply it on your fingers and hands where the lesions are present. After application to the patient wash your hands with soap and water.
Cold tea bags alleviate pain and burning sensation. Place a cold tea bag on the blister three to four times in a day. The substance present in tea also reduces viral activity and reduces outbreaks.