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Ask Rhema Sayers, M.D. Your Own Question
Rhema Sayers, M.D.
Rhema Sayers, M.D., Doctor
Category: Pediatrics
Satisfied Customers: 215
Experience:  Board Certified Family Physician with 28 years experience in pediatrics, including newborns.
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Anyone have expertise in herpes of the finger on a toddler

Resolved Question:

Anyone have expertise in herpes of the finger on a toddler?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Pediatrics
Expert:  Rhema Sayers, M.D. replied 8 years ago.
The virus that causes cold sores also causes infections of the fingers. It's fairly common in children of your baby's age. They put their fingers in their mouths a lot and the virus can get under the skin through a tiny break in the skin. The infection is called a herpetic whitlow. It will look like little clusters of blisters on the fingers and can cause a mild fever.The infection generally lasts from 2 to 6 weeks. So what you are seeing is probably just a mild continuation of the infection. It sounds like it is getting better. Be careful to wash your hands carefully if you touch any open blisters. It is contagious and adults can get it, too. I don't think the bleach hurts at all and it doesn't sound like a reaction to the Altabax.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
He is not in daycare nor does he come in contact with any children except that one child and an adult who held his hand on Halloween. Is it that contagious that he could have acquired it just by handling objects? In your opinion do you think it is Herpetic Whitlow? Could it be anything else? Basically, if it is Herpectic Whitlow, the on-going little red dots and blisters are a result from the original infection, not necessarily a reoccurance? Does that mean it will eventually stop? It has become very challenging keeping bandages on his finger, he pulls them off. The same goes for washing and viewing it. My major concern is keeping it from spreading on his skin and his eyes. He also suffers from eczema.
Expert:  Rhema Sayers, M.D. replied 8 years ago.
Your child does not live in a bubble. He goes to the store with you and handles the cart and your purchases and probably grabs at things he isn't supposed to. He comes into contact with germs everywhere. And since he has eczema, his skin has breaks in it. He gets cold sores and these are herpetic infections generally. Once you get that particular virus, it stays with you for life, just as the chicken pox virus does. And it can spread around. From your description, this does sound like a herpetic infection. The original infection sounds like something called a paronychia, which is a bacterial infection around the fingernail. At this point I would stop putting Bandaids on his finger. Just wash his hands several times a day and keep an eye on the bumps. Leave them alone and they will probably heal up.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thank you for your reply. I know he does not live in a bubble. My job is to protect him to an extent. You have not idea the hell we went through with his severe eczema. I chose to stay home with him to keep his eczema from becoming infected. Among other countless changes and sacrifices to keep him healthy. It has been a difficult 19 months. I had to deal with his issues alone most of the time. I did not expect this at this juncture. All I want to do is keep it from getting worse.
Expert:  Rhema Sayers, M.D. replied 8 years ago.
I understand your concerns. I would advise stopping the Bandaids. Part of the problem could be an allergic reaction to the tape. You might try a tiny bit of hydrocortisone cream on the rash twice a day. Try it when he is asleep, so that it stays on a little longer.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Remember these are tiny little dots not rashes and yes, the bandages can certainly cause this esp. since he has sensitive skin. Should I place the cortisone cream on the blister as well? I'm hoping to get a swab test of the blister if it's still in place, but I don't know how accurate that will be since I used Altabax on it when it was just a red dot and as it turned into a blister I used Betadyne and it's been turning into a blister the last 3 or 4 days. It hasn't grown very much. These are perfectly round tiny red bumps, smaller than a pinhead. And only one will develop into a blister at a time.
Expert:  Rhema Sayers, M.D. replied 8 years ago.
Stop the Betadine. It can be very irritating. And, yes. Use the hydrocortisone cream on the blister as well.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Ok. I will try that. Based on the last description, do you still think it's typical herpes? Do you think a swab test of the blister will be beneficial?
Expert:  Rhema Sayers, M.D. replied 8 years ago.

If there is still a blister, it may very well still be herpetic. Remember I said that the infection can last up to 6 weeks. Yes. A swab may be diagnostic. Good luck.

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