How Do You Get Warts?
Common skin Warts come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and can appear almost anywhere on the body, but they do bias some areas more than others on the skin surface. Sometimes they can be tiny, almost invisible to a glance, even forgettable inconspicuous bumps until only a gentle stroke of a finger reminds you it’s there. Sadly some warts seem to bask in the new found attention which you would rather avoid altogether. For some people, prominent facial warts can leave a negative impact on their lives affecting overall mental health, disrupting self-esteem as well as confidence in public. Read more on the effects here
Fortunately, that is why I have created this website to discuss and tackle this issue. I do hope you will find the information contained herein useful and beneficial. Do please leave a comment at the bottom if you wish to share your experience and share this information with anyone who you think will benefit.
How Common Are Warts?
At some point in our life, we will get at least one or more appearing on your skin. Common warts often appear on hands or the face while plantar warts develop on the soul of your feet. Seemly they appear from nowhere, but there is a comprehensive basis for them to be caught and develop.
Do Warts Spread, Are They Contagious?
They are all caused by a viral infection called the “Human Papilloma Virus” otherwise known as HPV. That’s right, a virus that you catch from someone else either through contact or with something that has traces of the virus on its surface. When HPV enter your skin, they multiply increasing their activity when they are active. Swimming pool floors provide excellent conditions to harbor the virus. Children tend to have a higher rate of plantar warts from these sort of environments because skin cells shed onto floor surfaces allowing the virus can be passed on. Other factors that influence a persons chance of catching warts are age, general health, immune system all determine if or how quickly warts appear and how our body suppresses the virus leading to its eventual elimination.
HPV generally spreads via human to human contact and does not spread from body fluids such as blood, saliva or sperm.
Some people can unknowingly carry HPV but not be aware because they show little or virtually no symptoms or noticeable warts on their skin, yet they may pass it on to others unwillingly. Only HPV tests can detect the presence of the virus.
How Can I Prevent Or Stop Warts Spreading?
HPV is contagious on contact. You can get it from contact with someone who has it or from things that have traces of the HPV virus. If you already have warts, it is possible to spread it to other areas of your body. Appropriate precautions are advised to help reduce your chances of catching HPV or spreading it further. These suggestions include:
- Try not to share bathroom towels between laundry washes
- Don’t share socks, tights, or shoes with someone that has warts on their feet.
- Do not share personal health and care items such as razors, lip balm, nail scissors, makeup.
- Wash your hands. Common disinfectant sprays and most alcohol gels will not kill HPV virus alone. Running water and soap will not destroy the virus either, but regular hygiene will help prevent it as well as other harmful bacterias and viruses spreading.
- If you use communal showering facilities after swimming at the beach or pool; a sweaty gym session, make sure to wear appropriate footwear such as flip-flops to minimize contact with the floor.
- Try to stop biting your nails. Fingers are usual territory for warts to infect. Biting nails will break the skin leaving it vulnerable to HPV and increase the likelihood you get periungual warts.
- Your immune system is essential to fight HPV, maintain a healthy and overall positive well-being. Boosting it will help your body defend against all kinds of disease. Key points are rest, getting enough quality sleep, healthy diet, quit smoking, regular exercise, avoid excessive alcohol consumption, drink plenty of water and avoid stress are vital points.
Minimise further self-infection
- Do not pick, scratch or rub a wart. Skin particles can easily shed increasing the chances of new infections.
- Cover warts with a bandage or athletic tape will help prevent accidental scratching and contact.
What Are The Symptoms Of Warts?
There are over 100 different known strains of this virus, and they can affect the body in their characteristic ways. Typically a wart is, in actuality non-cancerous growths produced by the infection of HPV. I would always strongly recommend you see your physician for medical advice. Below is a summary of the various types of wart that affect us most.
These ordinarily have the same or similar color to your skin. When you touch them, they tend to feel a little coarse because they form a rough raised spot on the surface of your skin. They usually are painless pronounced bumps, noticeable when touched or stroked.
As I discussed earlier in this article, common warts appear in a variety of places and vary in size. They can appear on fingers, around fingernails, often on the back of hands and around the face. But not all forms of HPV strains will produce warts in every region of the body. For example, HPV that causes hand or plantar warts will rarely give you genital warts.
Form on the soul of your feet can be uncomfortable when we stand because our weight tends to push the wart back into the skin surface and will appear as flattened lumps. You will often see red or dark spots at the center.
Flat warts (verruca plana)
These develop on multiple parts of the body. As the name implies, these warts have a smooth flat top, colored bumps small in size,1-4mm in diameter, but grow in clusters of around 20 to 200 warts. It is more common to see these in children. In adults, they are frequently found around the chin area of men’s faces and on women’s legs. Irritation and small cuts from shaving appear to be the cause for this.
I mentioned before that there are over 100 different types of HPV, not all of them have the same effect on various parts of the body. Genital warts are caused by just two forms of the virus even though about 30 types of HPV live in and around the genital and anal areas. As the name implies genital warts pass from one person to another through sexual contact, you don’t need to have penetrative sex to pass it on. Warts will appear in or around the vagina, penis, and scrotum, and areas around the anus. They can be so small that you may not see them and they don’t always cause any symptoms. Sometimes they can be quite large cauliflower-like lumps and may cause pain, itching, or burning sensation. Do see a doctor for consultation with genital warts first.
How Long Do Warts Last?
If left untreated without any medical intervention warts will eventually go away by themselves, but it can take anywhere from a few months to a few years. How your body and immune system respond to warts has a significant impact as to how quickly your body reacts. A suppressed immune system which is anyone prone to illness will find it takes much longer and may eventually require medical treatment.
When a child has a wart, they are three times as likely to get more during infection. There is also more certainty of passing it onto other people. For example, plantar warts are best to treat as soon as possible since it will spread quickly in public areas where walking or playing barefooted. Schools will often insist children who have warts on their feet wear socks so as not to circulate it to others in gym classes. In cases of genital warts, a wait a see approach is not recommended. See your doctor for consultation and treatment options. For adult women infected with genital warts, a Cervical Screening Test should additionally be arranged to screen for cancer of the cervix.
What Wart Treatments Are Available?
Warts are generally harmless, but it can take two years or more for the wart to clear up without any treatment, this varies from person to person. You may decide to opt for treatment if a wart is painful or in an area that is causing some discomfort or embarrassment.
Common methods include:
- Salicylic acid
- Duck tape
- Chemical treatments
Do share your experience with us in the comments below.