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Warts are small, circumscribed growths on the skin caused by a virus of the human papillomavirus (HPV) group. There are more than 100 distinct strains of HPV that can cause different types of warts.
Most warts are benign, but highly contagious, through direct or indirect contact. While they often disappear on their own without treatment within a few years, it is better to have them removed if they are painful and, of course, to avoid passing them on to others.
Types of warts
Warts can grow anywhere on the body. Here are a few known types of warts and their clinical characteristics:
There are many over-the-counter products to eliminate warts. Most of these contain the same active ingredient – salicylic acid – and come in a variety of forms:
Salicylic acid works by eliminating a thin layer of infected skin every day. But the product should be applied only on the wart. That’s why it’s important to protect the healthy surrounding skin. To do so, simply apply clear nail polish or petroleum jelly (Vaseline®) around the wart. Also, to enhance the action of the salicylic acid, soak your feet 5 to 15 minutes then rub the wart with a pumice stone before each application.
Products containing salicylic acid might not be suitable for everyone; talk to your pharmacist before you begin treatment.
There also secondary treatment options such as the use of liquid nitrogen (also available over the counter), laser, electrocoagulation and surgical removal.
With treatment, warts often disappear quickly, especially among children. However, healing usually takes longer with adults. And remember that regardless of the treatment used, the virus remains in the body and can become active again. The immune system is responsible for keeping it under control.
Consult a health professional if you are not sure that what you have are actually warts or if your warts remain, multiply or recur after treatment. Also seek medical attention if they are painful, if they bleed, if they cause deformity in a nail or if there are signs of infection.
Warts are highly contagious. To avoid spreading them to others, cover them during treatment, do not scratch them, wash your hands after touching them and use a clean towel to dry them (do not share it with anyone else). If you opt for an at-home treatment, always disinfect your pumice stone (and all other instruments) before and after each use.
As for plantar warts, the best way to prevent them is to avoid walking barefoot in public places, such as gymnasiums, pools and showers. Sandals are always a must!
Talk to your pharmacist for expert advice on the treatment that will be right for you.
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[UNIPRIX] - The information contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide complete information on the subject matter or to replace the advice of a health professional. This information does not constitute medical consultation, diagnosis or opinion and should not be interpreted as such. Please consult your health care provider if you have any questions about your health, medications or treatment.