Warts have a curious history throughout the ages. According to the Scottish, a wart on the right hand foretold wealth, while a wart on the face meant that you were in for some troubles. There are as many folk remedies as there are folk tales, from using a slug to get rid of the wart, or as Huck Finn once said, using a dead cat for a cure.
While you know that folk tales and folk remedies are primarily nonsense, there are some things you are probably wondering, from if they’re contagious to how to get rid of them.
Here are five facts about warts you should know
1. Getting Warts is Easier than You Think
Warts aren’t caused by touching a toad. They are caused by a strain of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) – Fun Fact: There are over 100 different known strains of HPV. This strain is different from the one that causes cervical cancer or genital warts.
When the virus can penetrate your skin, there’s a chance that you’re going to develop an infection. Potential infection sites include places where you’ve cut yourself shaving, torn hangnails, or any nicks or cuts on your hands.
2. Are Warts Contagious? Yes
Sad to say, but warts are contagious. Because they’re caused by a virus, you can get warts by coming into contact with someone else’s warts. You can also pick up the virus by sharing things that have come in contact with their warts. For example, if they use a hand towel to dry their hands and you use the same towel, you can pick up the virus. You can also become infected by walking barefoot around pools or in public locker rooms or showers. Plantar warts are often caught this way.
3. How to Minimize Your Chances of Getting Warts.
If you’re worried about catching warts, then make sure not to share towels in public locations and take advantage of the disinfectant spray at the gym. Wear gloves when you work out. If you shower in public locations, make sure to wear shower shoes or flip flops to minimize your exposure. And, it goes without saying, but wash your hands regularly.
4. How to Get Rid of Your Warts at Home
If you do happen to catch a wart, you can try some home remedies. Most of them use some form of salicylic acid to kill the exterior layer of the wart. You then use a file or pumice stone to abrade the dead layer the next day. This process can take a few weeks to work, and you need to be sure not to use the file or stone anywhere else and throw it away when you’re done.
Folk remedies like using duct tape or nail polish in place of a wart patch work in much the same way, although they aren’t any more effective.
5. When to See a Doctor for Your Warts
Warts aren’t generally dangerous for you, but the longer you have a wart, the more it can spread. If you’re exceptionally bothered by a wart’s location, you can see your doctor and dermatologist to get it removed quickly.
Two of the most common treatments involve burning or freezing the wart. In exceptional cases, a laser can be used to remove the wart. Another treatment uses cantharidin to create a blister underneath the wart. When the blister dies, the wart above it will fall off.
LowestMed’s Health Information Center is meant for educational purposes and is not intended for medical advice. If you would like to recommend any story ideas, feel free to contact us.