Finger whitlows

Nuttall, Dilyse orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-0561-5229 (2018) Finger whitlows. Nurse Prescribing, 16 (6). pp. 260-261. ISSN 2052-2924

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A whitlow, also known as a felon, is a closed space infection of the distal finger pulp (Franko and Abrams, 2013), commonly presenting as redness, tenderness and swelling (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), 2016). McDonald et al (2011) state that the most common cause of infection to the hand area is Staphylococcus aureus, and causes up to 80% of staphylococcal whitlows (NICE, 2016). Whitlows can also be caused by the herpes virus and are known as herpetic whitlows, with symptoms also including blistering (NHS, 2017).

No UK data are available, but data from America suggest that staphylococcal whitlow (including paronychia), accounts for a third of hand infections, while the prevalence of herpetic whitlow is 2.4 per 100 000 annually (NICE, 2017).

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