Warts and all

Published in For the Health of It Author: Christina Anderson,MD

cartoon witch

Halloween — with witches in the air and asking for candy at your door — is as good a time as any time of year to discuss warts. But it may surprise you that it’s not just toads and witches that get them. Kids between the ages of 9 and 16 are among those most at risk of getting warts — with as many as 10 percent of all children and teens having at least one at any given time.

Let’s bump up our knowledge about warts via the following facts:

Origin

  • 70 percent of warts are classified as common warts, which are most frequently found on one’s hands.
  • Common warts are caused by the HPV virus. There are many strains of this virus; however, only a few cause warts on your hands.
  • Although each individual responds differently to the HPV virus, it usually spreads through places where the skin is broken. Examples include scrapes, hangnails or fingernail biting wounds.

Preventing

  • Don’t pick at warts. When wounds are opened, the HPV virus can spread from the hands to the face and other parts of the body.
  • For the same reason, avoid brushing, clipping or shaving areas that have warts.
  • Warts can spread from person to person and can be done through shared objects such as washcloths, towels and emery boards.

Treatment

  • In children, warts sometimes go away without treatment.
  • You can find over-the-counter wart removal treatments that freeze or peel the wart over time. These treatments are usually applied daily over a week or two.
  • You may find it beneficial to talk to your health care provider to about removing warts if:
    • you can’t get rid of the warts
    • they hurt
    • you have multiple warts or if they are multiplying
    • you have an impaired immune system or diabetes
  • Your health care provider or dermatologist may have stronger prescription drugs or removal options that freeze, cut or use lasers or chemical peels. Among them include Candida antigen injection or immune response modifying drugs.