What are warts?
Warts are small hard growths that occur on the skin and mucous membranes. Warts are caused by the Human papilloma viruses (HPV).
Facts about warts
- There are over 100 different subtypes of these viruses.
- Different subtypes are more likely to infect different areas of the body.
- Some HPV subtypes are associated with the development of malignancies, including types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, and 35. Those with genital warts are more likely to develop cancer.
- More than 50% of the warts will go away on there own.
Factors that increase your risk of having warts
- Studies show that those who work in the food industry are more likely to develop warts.
- People who are immunosuppressed such as those who have had an organ transplant or have cancer are at higher risk for having a wart.
- Those who have damaged skin such as open wounds or dermatitis are more likely to develop a wart.
- Warts can also occur in children. Fortunately, more than half of children’s warts will go away on their own.
How does infection with the virus occur
Usually infection occurs when the virus comes in direct contact with the skin.
Prevention of warts
- Wash your hands thoroughly.
- Wear shoes in public areas.
- Do not bite your nails.
How do warts spread?
- Warts can be contagious but there are plenty of cases where only one family member will have a wart.
- Warts can spread to other parts of your body. Try not to pick your warts and make sure you wash your hands if you touch your wart.
Treatment of Warts
The goal of treatment is to destroy tissue including the wart.
- Treatment is not needed unless there is pain or there is a cosmetic concern.
- A chemical such as salicylic acid can be applied to the wart. This compound can help destroy the wart. Different percentages of this acid are available, the higher the percentage the higher the dose. Skin irritation may occur. as this medication is an acid. The products should be discontinued until there is input from your physician if the skin irritation does not improve. WartStick For the Removal of Common and Plantar Warts , Maximum Strength Stick, Salicylic Acid – 5.1g
- There is conflicting evidence about the effectiveness of occlusion with duct tape. Some studies suggest there may be deeper penetration with duct tape. Compound W Wart Remover One Step Pads, 14 Count
- The wart can be destroyed by several different methods such as freezing referred to as cryotherapy.
- Freeze sprays can be found over the counter without the need for a prescription. Usually the aerosol sprays are made from carbon dioxide. Dr. Scholl’s Freeze Away Wart Remover, 7 Treatments, Box the ingredients include Dimethyl Ether and Propane.
- Your physician may elect to use Liquid nitrogen can also br used during the freezing process. This is stronger than over the counter methods.
- Surgery, laser and other topical formulas can also be used. Caution should be used with laser as the virus can be airborne within the smoke or plume. Cases have been reported of health care workers developing warts in their nostrils.
- Warts can be injected with chemotherapy for those that are resistant to other methods.
There are a number of treatments available. Make sure you discuss the best type of treatment with your physician. If there is a history of diabetes or infection there is a higher chance of open wounds and infection.