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Hepetic whitlow

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Hey, I'm quite worried, someone at a chicken shop cooked me a yiros and as I saw the persons hands, her fingers and hands had what seemed to be yellow coloured burns or Maybe herpes whitlow. The person wrapped my yiros it took me about 3 minutes to get home and start eating the yiros, as I unwrapped the wrapper I already had dermashield plus on my hands. But what I'm asking is there a risk of catching herpes from this, if the person had herpes whitlow and because when I was eating the wrapper was touching my face.(but maybe im hoping the dermashield plus killed anything that was on the wrapper as I was holding it and when I unwrapped it) is there a risk of herpes here? Please answer. Thanks

Category: Infectious Disease Specialist

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Dr. Deepu Sebin Sebastian is online now

Expert:  Dr. Deepu Sebin Sebastian replied 4 Days.


Thank you for choosing Doctor.

Theoretically you can get an Herpes infection from the episode you have described, but practically your risk for infection is VERY LOW. I would say your risk is less than 1%.

There are a lot of factors interplaying in my reasoning . The main factors being whether the lesion was a whitlow itself. Even in the rare case it was it could have been healed and not active. Another factor is that there is no direct contact with the lesion (as in touching or kissing). This reduces the risk of transmission a lot. The Dermashield might have helped. The components allantoin and benzalkonium are approved by FDA to give as non prescription drugs as a protection but no evidence is there that they actually are effective against hepres.

And finally out of my experience with such indirect transmission scenarios , not even 1 case turned postive.
So I guess you are pretty safe.

Hope this helps
Feel free to ask followups
Thank you

Patient replied :

If the lesions wernt red and more like yellow raised bits, is this less contagious? Could you send me some photos of what would be contagious and what wouldn't. These lesions I saw wer yellow not red.

Expert:  Dr. Deepu Sebin Sebastian replied 3 Days.

Can you please use the google image search to find the lesions ? I might need other permission to send you any patient images (due to privacy concerns). The healing is mainly manifested by the time duration rather than physical appearance. So you can never really tell which is a helaed lesion and which is not. For now just search "Herpetic whitlow " in google images and let me know if you had indirect contact with similar morphology lesion.

Thank you

Patient replied :

I did a google search, but the location of the marks or whatever they were on the food cook, were located mainly on here upper fingers near her nuckles. She also had a line mark on her upper arm which was sort of the same texture. All these marks on her hands and arm were not red and didn't look like sores, but more like slightly raised yellow discolouration. I'm worried because a few weeks earlier I saw one yellow raised mark on one of her fingers and now recently saw all these marks. If you could let me know what you think it is. Also it didnt look like wounds like you see in google images of herpetic whitlow.

Expert:  Dr. Deepu Sebin Sebastian replied 2 Days.


The description of the lesion does not sound like a herpetic whitlow. It is more likely to be healed scab which could be a result of some injury or trauma. So I guess you need not worry at all.

Thank you

Patient replied :

Hi this is another question that I'm extremely worried about.

I've always protected myself from the sun most times and have never been badly burned as a child or adult until recently at work on two seperate occasions I burned badly on my nose and it blistered severley and has healed. And the other time I burnt my forehead and it blistered and some of my hairs were melted.

I'm very worried, have I from these two occasions drastically increased my risk of skin cancer and by how much percent if so?

Please answer. Thankyou

Expert:  Dr. Deepu Sebin Sebastian replied 1 Day.

Hello and thankyou for your query.
I have gone through you case and will explain it to you.
Skin cancer occur as a result of cumulative exposure to the UV rays. Hence 2 occasions will not put you at an increased risk. When UV rays hit the skin over and over again they cause changes in the DNA which can result in skin cancer. This cannot happen as a result of 2 exposures.
In the future avoid sunburns or sun exposure, use protection like hats, cover yourself with protective clothing and sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher.
You need not worry about the last 2 exposures, just avoid future sunburns.
I hope this has helped.

Dr. Deepu Sebin Sebastian
Category: Select Speciality
MD, Internal Medicine - Stanley Medical School
Medical School - MBBS - Govt. Medical College, Kottyaam

Diagnostic Prediction - Stanford School of Medicine
Received Specialty training in Critical Care, Cardiology, Neurology, Gastroenterology, Nephrology from Stanley Medical College and in Endocrinology, Rheumatology.

Hematology and Geriatrics from Madras Medical College.
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