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Skin Care and Diseases

Should I be worried?

03/14/2007

Question:

I have been seeing a Dermatiolgist for dermatitis for almost 9 mo. now. I have type 2 herpes and I am always woried of geting herpes on my hands due to the fact they are always dry and cracked. Some times I get small bumps on my hands and fingers and think that I may have the desease on my hands...but when I make an apt. with my Dr. his staff is unwilling to bring me right in and by time I get in to see him the bumps are gone...so there is nothing for him to look at when I am there. How easy would it be to get herpes on my hands and what would it look like? Would it look like dermatitis or would it be differnet...could my Dr. have missdiagonsed my condition.Please help discribe what kind of symtoms and what it would look like if this was herpes. Thank you.

Answer:

Herpes on the hands/fingers typically present as herpetic whitlow. Usually, this is a single lesion, present on the site of inoculation of the herpes virus. It is rare to have numerous bumps on the fingers due to herpes. A common cause for multiple bumps on fingers when hands are dry and cracked is a dermatitis known as dyshidrotic eczema, which is not related to herpes.

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Response by:

Elma D Baron, MD Elma D Baron, MD
Associate Professor of Dermatology
Director, Skin Study Center
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University