Skin Warts and Their Management
One of the most commonly encountered problems over the skin, besides getting rashes, is having warts.
A wart is usually a painless, raised firm bump over the skin, which may be solitary or more in number. The bump is not very uniform in shape. It may be round to squarish in appearance.
How Does a Wart Form Over Your Skin?
Warts get formed when you get infected by one of the virus belonging to the human papilloma group. This group of viruses affect the topmost layer of the skin. The virus resides in the skin cells and initiates its rapid multiplication.
Skin cells multiply and get piled up upon each other. This piling leads to a wart formation.
- Having a unsightly growth over the skin surface. You may get it any where over the skin. However, the areas of the skin that you neglect are more likely to get warts.
- This may include those areas that are not washed frequently, or not moisturized or have minutes injuries or cuts, like your finger tips, webs between the fingers etc.
- Sometimes, a wart may be painful.
- It is rare for a wart to ooze out any fluid or discharge from it.
- The surrounding area and the wart surface itself resembles the skin tone. There is no redness or any change in the appearance of the skin.
- Warts do not itch, pain or burn. They remain symptomless. The only problem you may have is that they are unsightly to look at.
Are They Infectious?
Yes, warts are highly contagious. If you have a wart at a place, you can spread it to other portions of the body by scratching it.
Infection spreads when you catch the causative virus in your skin. This can happen with-
- Directly touching a wart
- Sharing towels or linen with a person having warts
- From common bath pools or showers
- Walking bare foot in public places where someone with warts might have walked.
- You are prone to get infected if you have a weak immune system, minor cuts or roughness over the skin or when under mental or emotional stress.
What to Do When You Have a Wart?
Wart is an infection and needs treatment. It is advisable to visit a doctor when you get a wart.
The first thing to be done is to ascertain that this is a simple wart, and not a STD. Then the modality of treatment may be decided.
A small solitary wart may be left as such. It may go away by itself in a few days, as your immune system fights against it. Precautions need to be taken that the wart is kept isolated and not scratched, to limit the spread of infection to other healthy portions of the skin.
Most warts require treatment. Commonly, people try home treatment. Among them, the use of salicylic acid is suggested. This encourages the shedding off of the topmost skin layers, which contain the virus load.
Dead skin cells containing the virus get shed off.
If you are at a doctor’s clinic, he may like to freeze or burn your wart. Freezing may be done with liquid nitrogen.
Sometimes, canthiridin lotions are used. They are irritative and promote blister formation underneath the wart surface. As the blister forms, the wart gets detached from the skin surface and sheds off.