Disease: Common warts


    Common warts are small, grainy skin growths that occur most often on your fingers or hands. Rough to the touch, common warts also often feature a pattern of tiny black dots, which are small, clotted blood vessels.

    Common warts are caused by a virus and are transmitted by touch. It can take a wart as long as two to six months to develop after your skin has been exposed to the virus. Common warts are usually harmless and eventually disappear on their own. But many people choose to remove them because they find them bothersome or embarrassing.

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com


    Common warts usually occur on your fingers or hands and may be:

    • Small, fleshy, grainy bumps
    • Flesh-colored, white, pink or tan
    • Rough to the touch
    • Sprinkled with black pinpoints, which are small, clotted blood vessels

    When to see a doctor

    See your doctor for common warts if:

    • The growths are painful or change in appearance or color
    • You've tried treating the warts, but they persist, spread or recur
    • The growths are bothersome and interfere with activities
    • You aren't sure whether the growths are warts
    • You are an adult and numerous warts begin to appear, which may indicate the immune system is malfunctioning

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com


    Common warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). The virus is quite common and has more than 150 types, but only a few cause warts on your hands. Some strains of HPV are acquired through sexual contact. Most forms, however, are spread by casual skin contact or through shared objects, such as towels or washcloths. The virus usually spreads through breaks in your skin, such as a hangnail or a scrape. Biting your nails also can cause warts to spread on your fingertips and around your nails.

    Each person's immune system responds to the HPV virus differently, so not everyone who comes in contact with HPV develops warts.

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com


    In most cases, your doctor can diagnose a common wart with one or more of these techniques:

    • Examining the wart
    • Scraping off the top layer of the wart to check for signs of dark, pinpoint dots — clotted blood vessels — which are common with warts
    • Removing a small section of the wart (shave biopsy) and sending it to a laboratory for analysis to rule out other types of skin growths

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com


    To reduce your risk of common warts:

    • Avoid direct contact with warts. This includes your own warts.
    • Don't pick at warts. Picking may spread the virus.
    • Don't use the same emery board, pumice stone or nail clipper on your warts as you use on your healthy skin and nails. Use a disposable emery board.
    • Don't bite your fingernails. Warts occur more often in skin that has been broken. Nibbling the skin around your fingernails opens the door for the virus.
    • Groom with care. And avoid brushing, clipping or shaving areas that have warts. If you must shave, use an electric razor.

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com

    Lifestyle and home remedies

    Home treatment is often effective in removing common warts. Unless you have an impaired immune system or diabetes, try these methods:

    • Peeling medicine (salicylic acid). Nonprescription wart removal products such as salicylic acid are available as a patch, ointment, pad and liquid. For common warts, look for a 17 percent salicylic acid solution. These products (Compound W, Dr. Scholl's Clear Away Wart Remover, others) are usually used daily, often for a few weeks. For best results, soak your wart in warm water for a few minutes before applying the product. File away any dead skin with a disposable emery board or a pumice stone between treatments.

      If your skin becomes too irritated, decrease how often you use this method to treat your wart. If you're pregnant, talk with your doctor before using an acid solution.

    • Freezing. Some liquid nitrogen products are available in nonprescription liquid or spray form (Compound W Freeze Off, Dr. Scholl's Freeze Away, others).
    • Duct tape. Cover the wart with silver duct tape for six days. Then soak it in water and gently remove dead tissue with a pumice stone or disposable emery board. Leave the wart exposed for about 12 hours, and then repeat the process until the wart is gone.

      Study results have been mixed on the effectiveness of duct tape in removing warts, either alone or with other therapies.

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com

    Risk factors

    People at higher risk of developing common warts include:

    • Children and young adults, because their bodies may not have built up immunity to the virus
    • People with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS or people who've had organ transplants

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com

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