Think you might have a wart? Want to know more about warts and how to treat them?

We know: All about Warts

What are warts?

Warts are non-cancerous skin growth caused by a viral infection. Most of them are harmless. The virus that causes warts is called Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).

What types of warts are there?

There are several types of warts including:

  • Verruca vulgaris (common warts)
  • Plantar warts (foot warts)
  • Flat warts, filiform warts or thread warts
  • Mucosal warts (occurring of a muscosal membrane)
  • Facial warts
  • Periungual warts (occurring around the nails)

How do I know if I have a wart?

Warts are normally flesh colored and have a rough surface. However, they can also be flat, dark or smooth. The appearance of the wart will depend on where it is growing. On the face, feet and hands, warts may appear smaller and flatter. There may be singular or multiple warts appearing at the same time on different parts of the body.

Who is likely to get warts?

Warts affect predominantly young adults and children. They can also affect those who have a weak immune system. It is unknown why some people get warts and others don't.

What home remedies are available?

  • Sylicylic Acid: Wart medications and patches are available at drugstores. Look for wart medications or patches that contain 17 percent sylicylic acid (Compound W, Occlusal HP), which peels off the infected skin.
  • Duct Tape: This method has been used in a recent study to treat warts. The process starts by covering up any warts with duct tape. After removing tape, warts are soaked in water and then lightly rubbed with an emery board or pumice stone. Process is repeated for two months or until wart goes away.

How can a dermatologist treat warts?

There are four main treatments used by dermatologists:

  • Freezing (cryotherapy): This is when the wart is destroyed using liquid nitrogen. Freezing works by forming a blister on the wart. The dead tissue then sloughs off in a week or two.
  • Cantharidin: This is a substance that is extracted from the blister beedle on the wart. The extract is mixed with other chemicals, painted onto the skin and then covered with a bandage.
  • Minor surgery: This involves cutting away the wart with an electric needle. The process is known as electrodessication and curettage. The surgery may leave a scar and the anesthetic given before the surgery can be painful.
  • Laser surgery: This treatment can be expensive and often leaves a scar. It is reserved for very tough to remove warts.

How can I prevent contraction and/or transmitting warts in the future?

  • Don't brush, clip, comb or shave in areas that have warts to avoid spreading the virus.
  • Use a different nail file on healthy, non-wart affected nails than you use on nails that have warts.
  • If you have warts near your fingernails avoid biting your fingernails.
  • Don't pick at your warts. Picking can spread the virus. In small children, cover warts with a bandage to discourage picking.
  • Keep hands as dry as possible. Warts are more difficult to control in wet areas.
  • Wash hands carefully after touching warts.
  • Do not share towels with someone who has warts.

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