Common warts are the type of warts that are usually found growing on a person’s hands or fingers. However, due to the fact that the virus that causes these growths is contagious, they may spread to just about any location on the body. Treatment is typically sought to help prevent the spread of common warts.
Warts are caused by a virus. This virus is known as, the human papillomavirus (HPV). There are known to be at least 100 different strains of this virus. Different strains are responsible for the different types of warts that people can get. This virus, (HPV) is known to be contagious and can spread not only from person to person, but to different locations on the infected person’s body.
A person doesn’t have to come into direct contact with HPV in order to become infected. Indirect contact with the items that an infected person has touched, can also pass along the virus. Typically this virus will enter the body through small scrapes or cuts. People who bite their fingernails are much more likely to develop common warts in close proximity to their fingernails.
Typically, common warts are small, fleshy, grainy bumps that are at either flesh colored, white, pink or tan. These rough to the touch growths, are often described as being shaped like a small cauliflower. While HPV is typically a relatively harmless condition, some strains of this virus can cause serious conditions, such as cancer of the cervix.
Due to the fact that everyone’s immune systems responds differently to HPV, not everyone exposed to the virus will develop warts.
Who is Most at Risk
People that have compromised immune systems, like anyone who is HIV positive or the small percentage of people who have had organ transplants, are at a higher risk to develop warts. Children and young adults, who’s immune systems haven’t yet developed any anti-bodies to HPV are at a higher risk of becoming infected with HPV.
There are many effective treatments available for warts. However, treatment is not always necessary. Almost always they will disappear completely on their own within two years. If however, for cosmetic reasons, to eliminate discomfort or to prevent the spread of warts, you should choose to treat them, you may certainly do so.
It is very highly recommended that you consult with your personal physician or skin care expert, such as a dermatologist, before attempting home treatment. That way you don’t end up treating a corn or callous, thinking its a wart. Occasionally, but rarely, your physician may determine a biopsy is needed to ensure an accurate diagnosis.
Once you’ve determined what you have is truly a wart, there are many options available to remove it. The most common home treatment is an over-the-counter medication containing salicylic acid (SCA). This is what’s commonly known as a topical irritant. Other methods of treatment such as, cryosurgery, electrocautery, curettage, excision, and laser surgery are what’s known as, destructive methods. These two different types of treatment can be used individually or in combination. Usually a physician will choose the treatment that is the least likely to result in scarring.
Obviously, preventing infection of HPV is the most desirable course of action. If you’re not infected you will never have to be diagnosed and treated. Reducing the risk of you or your child developing warts is not that difficult.
Ideally to avoid spreading the human papillomavirus, you should avoid combing, brushing or shaving areas that have warts. Next, you should never share the same towels, nail files or fingernail clippers with those who are infected. Furthermore, you should never use those items on the healthy, uninfected areas of your body. Make sure you don’t bite your fingernails, especially if you’re to have warts near your fingernails. If you’re a have warts, avoid picking at them, as this might also spread them. One thing you can do is cover your warts with an adhesive bandage, so as to discourage picking at them. Since warts are more difficult to control and a moist environment try to keep your hands as dry as possible.
By following the advice in this article and other articles within this site, you should be armed with plenty of knowledge to prevent or treat common warts.