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Are Warts Contagious

Not Just for Toads: The Contagious Factor for Warts

You don't have to worry about getting warts from kissing toads (not that anyone really does that), but you can definitely catch warts from touching another person.

Common warts are caused by certain types of the human papillomavirus (HPV). The virus causes rapid growth of cells on the outer layers of the skin that look like little bumps. They're mostly found on the hands or feet.

These dome-shaped growths can spread easily when anyone comes in contact with HPV. If you touch someone's wart, you can get warts too. You can also spread warts to other parts of your body if you touch the wart and then touch an uninfected area of your skin. It's possible to catch a wart from a towel or other personal item that was used by someone who had warts. It may take two to nine months before a wart appears after coming in contact with the virus, but some people's immune systems are naturally resistant to HPV and never get warts.

While warts are pretty harmless (they're not cancerous like moles can be), it's a good idea to get them removed to decrease the chance of spreading more warts to other places on your body (and to other people). Plus, warts can be painful if they're in an area where they get bumped a lot, so talk to your doctor about treatment options. To see what they could be then

Your doctor may recommend:

  • Salicylic acid: This is good for warts that appear on the hands, feet, or knees.
  • 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 two months.
  • Liquid nitrogen: Your doctor may use this to freeze the wart, which may hurt a little. This treatment may need to be repeated up to four 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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