Warts 101: Where They Come From and If You Should Seek Help

Warts are common. That's why it's important to know more about them.

Warts come in all different colors, shapes, and sizes, and they can show up anywhere on your body. While anyone can get warts, they are most common in kids, likely because their immune systems are still developing. Although warts can get in the way or be unpleasant to look at, they don’t cause any health problems. But for peace of mind, let’s take a look at where they come from and how you can remove them.

Where Do Warts Come From?

A virus called human papilloma (HPV) is what causes warts. The virus finds a moist, warm place on the skin—like cuts and scratches—and can continue to grow for months. Once the warts form, many people will grow concerned or worried for many reasons. See a few of those concerns answered below. 

Are Warts Contagious?

The virus that causes warts is contagious. This means if you touch anything that someone with a wart has used, you can pick up HPV. That’s why it’s important to teach your kids good hand hygiene. Keep them from biting their fingernails and train them to keep their fingers out of their mouths. If you or your child has a wart, avoid picking, rubbing, or scratching it.

How Do You Remove a Wart?

How you treat a wart depends on the type of wart you have. Luckily, warts often go away on their own, so you may not need to do anything to treat them. Your best bet is to see a doctor who can make recommendations, including medications that may help get rid of them. Warts found on the foot can be difficult to remove because of thicker, harder skin, which makes it hard for medicine to reach the virus that causes them. Even after successful treatment, warts are prone to coming back.

In some cases, you will need a doctor to help you get rid of a wart. Here are some common ways to get rid of warts:

  • Prescription medicine: a topical medicine that you would apply daily.
  • Cryosurgery: a doctor would use special chemicals on the wart every month to freeze the wart and kill off the virus that causes it.
  • Laser treatment: a doctor uses a laser to zap warts that won’t go away using other methods. The procedure may need to be repeated for deeper warts.
  • Surgery: Typically reserved as a last resort because of scarring.

Did you know HPV is one of the risk factors for cervical cancer? Read Hospitality Health ER Longview’s blog on cervical cancer awareness or like our Facebook page to keep up with the latest healthcare topics.

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