September 10, 2021 at 9:45 am #74829DissolvedO2Participant
Hi Terri –
I auto-inoculated my little finger on my right hand with herpes (right by the nail bed – it happened after I applied acyclovir to my cold sore using that finger and the medicine got in the nail bed as I was wiping it off). I had two initial outbreaks on that finger, then, it felt like it was moving into my ring finger of that hand (adjacent nail bed got red and ached similarly). I started putting zinc oxide and bandaids on those spots when they got irritated (which provided some relief). Then, I started soaking my fingers in a zinc solution (as they often felt inflamed). I stopped the zinc soaks when I began to worry I was driving herpes up my arm (nerve pain in armpit).
In 2016 I began experiencing itchy bumps on the back of my index finger knuckle (the largest knuckle, where it meets the palm). It didn’t feel like herpes at all, and I put oil on and rubbed the backs of my hands together. Within a day or two, the bumps emerged on my left hand above the same knuckle (I’m guessing from rubbing hands together).
My dermatologist has tested these bumps for herpes twice (both negative but difficult to sample). Every time they heal, another one comes up-so it has turned into a chronic condition. I’m on suppressive therapy (500 mg valtrex 2X/day) and have been for about 25 years. I used to have genital outbreaks constantly.
Two weeks ago, my right index finger began having nerve pain on the palm side. I took a shingles dose of valtrex for a week and the pain and the bumps went away. I thought: okay – now I know this hand issue is herpes. I stopped the shingles dose and went back to my maintenance dose, and the bumps returned. I tried the shingles dose again and its not working (i.e., I’m near the end of the week and bumps are still here).
The bumps respond to mometasone and recently I’ve tried using acyclovir ointment on them.
I’m curious about your thoughts regarding this situation. I’m HSV positive for both 1 and 2.
Thanks so much for the work you do.
September 13, 2021 at 8:40 am #74860Terri WarrenKeymaster
Without a positive swab test, it is impossible to know what is going on here. I would suggest that you ask your provider either 1) to see you immediately when one of the bumps shows up or 2) to send you home with swab tests so that you could gather the swab yourself. it is important on the fingers to break up whatever is there rather than swabbing intact skin as the skin may be too thick for the virus to leave, if this is herpes.
I have to say, something that is chronic like this is for you doesn’t sound herpetic to me but I can’t be certain. It just isn’t the nature of herpes whitlow to act like this.
September 14, 2021 at 12:21 pm #74893DissolvedO2Participant
Thanks for your thoughts. My dermatologist agrees that we haven’t been able to get a good swab (even though I did take a swab home once to sample, as you suggested). My provider said “you appear to be particularly sensitive to viruses,” which I suppose may be true since I got measles as a child after being vaccinated and have had warts incidentally over the years. Who knows – I’ll try to get a decent swab one of these days. She did suggest a biopsy, which I declined.
Thanks again for providing this resource – it really matters and is much appreciated.
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