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Don't Touch That Wart

Don't Touch That Wart

No - you can't get warts from touching toads, but I just read that warts can be passed from one person to another.

Warts are caused by a human papillomavirus (HPV), and there are more than 100 types. Warts can grow on all parts of your body (and I mean ALL). Some viruses can cause warts to grow on your hands or feet, while others can cause warts to grow on your genitals and rectal area (not fun).

Some people are naturally resistant to the HPV virus and never get warts, while others seem to get warts more often than the snow falls in winter.

Warts should be treated because it'll decrease your chance of spreading more warts to the rest of your body (and to other people). Plus, warts can be painful if they're in an area where they get bumped a lot. They can also be a little embarrassing, like if they're on your face.

Warts will often go away on their own, but it may take several months or years even. If they get to be too annoying, you can get an over-the-counter treatment (these should NOT be used for genital warts). Or you can go see a dermatologist to have them removed.

There are a few choices in how to treat warts. Want to hear about them? Then

  • Apply salicylic acid: This is good for warts that appear on the hands, feet, or knees - apply the acid daily for many weeks after a bath or shower.
  • Duct tape treatment (this is for real): Cover the wart with duct tape for up to a week - this irritates the skin and causes your body to attack it. Repeat this for up to 2 months - if it doesn't work, see a doctor.
  • Liquid nitrogen: Your doctor may use this to freeze the wart, which may hurt a little. This may need to be repeated up to 4 times to remove the wart.

If none of the above work, your doctor may have to resort to other treatments such as burning the wart, cutting the wart off, or removing it with a laser. These work really well, and quickly, but often leave a scar.

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