They’re not nice to look at, and may make you feel self-conscious, but warts are mostly harmless.
Not only that, but pretty much everyone has come into contact with the virus that causes them at some point, meaning they’re quite common.
In fact, scientists have identified more than 100 unique types of the virus.
Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean you will get warts, but it shows how easy they are to transmit.
Luckily (because, let’s face it, they don’t look great), when it comes to getting rid of them, this is relatively straightforward.
So if you or your child is affected by warts, here’s what you need to know about the different types, how you can catch them, and how to get rid of them.
What causes warts – different types and how to get rid of warts fast.
1. What causes warts
Warts and their friend, the verruca, are caused by a virus.
In the case of common warts, these are actually an infection in the top layer of skin, caused by viruses in the human papillomavirus , or HPV, family.
As mentioned, there are 100 variants of this virus and it causes an infection in areas where the top layer of the skin is broken or can be transmitted by touching a person with the condition OR touching things that contain the virus.
Common warts caused by the human papillomavirus are, by and large, harmless.
In some rare cases, however, they can develop into more serious health problems, so the NHS advise to always check with your GP if you have concerns.
2. Who gets warts
Some people are more susceptible to warts than others.
Owing to their weaker immune systems, Young children, young adults and the elderly are more likely to develop and get warts.
Young kids also share toys and play areas, and with young adults, sex is thought to be a factor too.
They’re easily transmitted, unfortunately.
Shaking hands with an infected person or using a towel or keyboard that has been used by a person with warts can mean you may get them too.
You definitely DON’T get them from handling frogs or toads – that is a myth.
3. Different types of wart
• Common warts which usually grow on your fingers and toes, but can appear elsewhere, and have a rough, grainy appearance and a rounded top. They also appear more grey in colour than the surrounding skin.
• Plantar warts which grow on the soles of the feet. Unlike other warts, plantar warts grow into your skin, not out of it, and you’ll notice what looks like a small hole in the bottom of your foot, surrounded by hardened skin.
• Flat warts usually grow on the face, thighs or arms. They’re small, have a flat top, and are pink, brown or a little yellow in colour.
• Filiform warts usually grow around the mouth or nose and sometimes on the neck. They’re small and shaped like a skin tag.
• Periungual warts commonly grow under and around the toenails and fingernails. These can be painful and can affect nail growth.
4. How to get rid of warts
Please note this advice is only for warts on your hands or fingers.
Warts can and do go away on their own without treatment, but this could take weeks or months.
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If you’re in pain, notice that the warts are spreading to other areas, or they’re bleeding/change appearance, see your doctor.
Your GP may be able to freeze a wart or verruca so it falls off a few weeks later, which may take a few sessions.
If treatment hasn’t worked or you have a wart on your face, your GP might refer you to a skin specialist. Other treatments include minor surgery and treatment with laser or light.
Some home remedies include:
- Salicylic acid
Salicylic acid is a non-prescription product that can used to remove warts from home.
It’s comes both as a liquid and a patch.
Soak the affected skin area in warm water for about 10 to 20 minutes before applying the salicylic acid.
- Duct tape
If you’ve got this at home, cover the warts for about six days.
Later, soak the area in water before using a disposable emery board to scrape and remove the dead tissue of the wart.
You can find non-prescription aerosol wart-freezing products sold over the counter.
Make sure you do see your GP if the wart appears on your face or genitals.
- share towels, flannels, socks or shoes if you have a wart or verruca
- bite your nails or suck fingers with warts on
- walk barefoot in public places if you have a verruca
- scratch or pick a wart.
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