Herpetic Whitlow(Herpes on Hands) Causes and Treatment

Herpetic whitlow, also called digital herpes simplex, is an infection created by the herpes simplex virus.  This is a painful viral infection which is also called herpetic whitlow or finger herpes.  Herpes whitlow is a contagious disease and can be passed from one person to another via direct contact. It can occur on any part of the body, especially your fingers and hands. This unpleasant disease is highly contagious and characterized by outbreaks of fluid-filled bumps on the skin.

The infection can occur in all ages people, including both men and women. However, you are more likely to get the disease if your immune system is weak. Children and some professionals who work close to the infection patient will be more at risk. This article will discuss the common causes of Herpetic Whitlow and some best natural treatments.

Herpes on Hands
Herpes on Hands Causes and Treatment

Common Causes of Herpetic Whitlow

There are two types of Herpes simplex virus, including herpesvirus 1 (HSV 1) and herpesvirus 2 (HSV 2).

The HSV-1 infection (oral herpes) can be transferred by:

  • Kissing
  • Sharing utensils
  • Sharing lipstick or lip balm

HSV-2 virus (accountable for genital herpes outbreaks) can be transmitted by:

  • Having sex at a younger age
  • Having multiple partners
  • Compromised immune system

Symptoms of Herpetic Whitlow(Herpes on Hands)

While herpes on hands most often affects fingers and fingertips, it can spread to other parts such as the palmar area. You may feel a tingling sensation, burning, and pain after one to two weeks when your exposure to the herpes simplex virus.

Over the next week, the affected area will become red, inflamed, and swollen. You may notice small fluid-filled blisters on the affected part. In addition to red fluid-filled bumps, herpes on hands outbreak can also be accompanied by other symptoms such as mild fever, swelling, body ache, or swollen lymph nodes in your underarm area. The symptoms may last 7–10 days.

Recurrent herpes simplex virus infections are similar to the primary infection; however, it is often milder and lasts little more than a week. Some factors will trigger recurrent HSV infections, such as weak immunity, excessive stress, sun exposure, hormonal imbalance, surgery, emotional trauma, etc.

Despite its frightening effects, herpes can be treated efficiently right at your home. Check out the top natural home remedies that we’ve gathered for you.

10 Natural Ways to Remove Herpetic Whitlow(Herpes on Hands)

1. Baking Soda

One of the best highly-available home treatments for herpes is baking soda. It can neutralize the pH levels of your skin and help you remove dead skin cells.

Baking soda is also very efficient at relieving pain and itchiness of the accompanying sores. To get the most out of this remedy, you’ll have to make a baking soda paste.


  • Mix one tablespoon of baking soda with an equal amount of water or olive oil to create a paste.
  • Apply the solution to herpes.
  • Let it dry naturally.
  • Rinse it off using cold water.
  • Repeat when experiencing itchiness or swelling.

Tip: Don’t reuse the cotton ball after it came in touch with herpes to avoid cross-contamination.

2. Apple Cider Vinegar

An excellent natural disinfectant, apple cider vinegar (ACV) makes a perfect home remedy for treating herpes. It is a powerful astringent capable of repairing damaged skin tissue. It is also rich in anti-inflammatory properties that help in reducing the swelling caused by herpes.


  • Mix a teaspoon of ACV with an equal amount of water.
  • Use a cotton ball to apply the mixture to the affected areas.
  • Change cotton balls after each use.
  • Repeat the treatment two times per day.

Top benefits of ACV treatment:

  • Provides soothing effect and relieves pain.
  • Provides relief from itching and burning sensation.
  • Kills the virus.

Tip: ACV’s acid nature can cause harm when applied to raw wounds. If you’re suffering from a severe infection, you might experience a burning sensation using the vinegar. In that case, rinse the area with water and dilute your vinegar solution.

3. Turmeric and Aloe Vera

These two ingredients make one of the top remedies for herpes on hands when used together. Aloe vera is an excellent antiseptic and soothing agent capable of curing various infections. On the other side, Turmeric is also a great antiseptic agent and can heal blisters and wounds quickly.


  • Secure a fresh aloe vera leaf for best effects. Squeeze the gel out of the leaf by cutting it into it.
  • Mix the gel with a teaspoon of organic turmeric powder.
  • Use a clean tool or finger to apply the gel to herpes. Make sure to clean it after each application.
  • Let the paste dry for an hour, then rinse it off using cold
  • Repeat up to 3 times per day. You should achieve desired results in a week or so.

4. Olive Oil and Garlic

Another excellent home remedy mix is made with olive oil and garlic. They are both loaded with properties beneficial to our health.

Garlic is a natural detoxifying and anti-inflammatory agent that can easily reduce swelling and counter the effects of herpes. As it can be quite intense and harsh, it performs best when used with olive oil, contributing to the treatment by providing soothing effects.

How to:

  • Peel three cloves of garlic and chop them into small bits.
  • Simmer them on a few tablespoons of olive oil until the garlic blackens.
  • Strain the garlic and allow the oil to cool down to body temperature.
  • Apply the oil to the herpes outbreaks.
  • Repeat the treatment twice per day.

5. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is an effective medicine for herpes on the hands due to its soothing and pain-relieving properties. It has long been used for treating various skin conditions and is often an indispensable ingredient in body-care products.

Preparing organic tea tree oil solution:

  • Add 3 – 5 drops of the oil to a cup of warm water. Make sure that the mixture doesn’t get in your eyes because it can irritate them.
  • Dip some cotton in the mixture and apply it to the herpes blisters.

Alternatively, you can also use this solution to gargle with if you’re experiencing ulcers in your mouth.

6. Cold Compress

Ice compress or cold compress is yet another effective remedy for dealing with herpes. Ice is a universal treatment when it comes to inflammation and swelling.

When applied to the wound, ice helps in controlling the swelling and reducing the burning sensation. It also prevents the fluid-filled bumps from accumulating more water and bursting.

When applying an ice pack on herpes, make sure that there is no direct touch between the wounds and the ice. If water makes it inside the wound, it might cause infection. To prevent this from happening, wrap the ice cubes in a plastic bag.

7. Licorice Root Powder

Licorice powder is rich in anti-viral properties, which make it an excellent herpes fighter. It can also help you build up your immunity when mixed with warm water and consumed internally. Nevertheless, applying licorice directly to the wounds has amazing benefits and will help you treat herpes in no time.

How to do it?

  • Mix 1 teaspoon of licorice powder with just enough water to form a paste.
  • Spread the paste over the infected areas.
  • Let it stay on for around 60 minutes.
  • Rinse with cold water and repeat twice per day.

Note: Avoid this treatment if you’re suffering from high blood pressure. Licorice root may cause it to rise.

8. Lemon Balm

As a member of the mint family, lemon balm offers instant pain relief and reduced itching when applied on wounds. Its rosmarinic and phenolic acids provide a soothing effect and ensure that herpes is going down.


  • Mix 2 – 3 teaspoons of lemon balm into a cup of warm water.
  • Use cotton balls to apply the solution to your wounds.
  • Repeat the method up to 3 times per day, and make sure you always use clean cotton.

Tip: To prevent herpes outbreaks, lemon balm should be consumed internally. You can add a few drops of it to clean water and drink it daily to avoid herpes.

9. Hydrogen Peroxide

As a disinfectant and a soothing agent in one, hydrogen peroxide can both control the virus outbreak and treat its effects. By providing itching relief and boosting wounds’ healing process, hydrogen peroxide makes it to the top of home remedies for herpes on hands.

  • Pour a few teaspoons of 3% hydrogen peroxide into a bowl. If your wounds are open, mix in an equal amount of water.
  • Take a clean cotton ball.
  • Dip it in the solution and gently apply it to the blisters.
  • Repeat daily until the wounds are gone.

Tip: Avoid this treatment if you’re suffering from severe raw wounds.

10. Peppermint

Last but not least, peppermint tea is capable of destroying the herpes virus and alleviating its effects. It’s been proven to soothe the pain and reduce inflammation. Drink peppermint tea daily when suffering from an infection.

Alternatively, you can create a mix of 1 drop of peppermint oil and one teaspoon of water. Apply the solution to the affected areas multiple times a day.

How to Avoid Hand Herpes Infection

As herpes is highly contagious, you should try your best to limit it before it spreads to your other body parts or other people. If someone close to you is dealing with it, make sure you educate them on the prevention of spreading.

  • Avoid sharing towels, nail clippers, gloves, and other items that can come in touch with herpes.
  • If the infected area comes in touch with another body part or object, wash it right away.
  • Begin treating herpes right away.
  • Cover the infected areas with a bandage or wear gloves.
  • Avoid popping blisters.

Final Word

Herpes on hands is an unpleasant disease that is highly contagious and characterized by outbreaks of fluid-filled bumps on the skin. While it can affect any body part, the infections that occur on hands can be particularly inconvenient. Despite the condition’s harsh accompanying symptoms such as body ache, fever, and swelling, you can effectively treat it at home.

From applying garlic, aloe vera, and apple cider vinegar to making your own paste out of licorice root powder, there are numerous treatments for you to choose from. Ensure that you also do your best to prevent the disease from spreading to other parts of the body or other people.

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