Known clinically as verruca vulgaris, warts — by any name — are something that nobody wants. Unfortunately, once you get warts, you may inadvertently pass them to another person. You can also infect other areas of your body, spreading warts from head to toe.
One reason warts are so contagious is that they’re caused by a virus. In fact, they’re the results of an infection by one of the 150 strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV). The strain that causes warts isn’t the same strain that causes cervical cancer.
Warts don’t usually cause symptoms and aren’t dangerous, but they can wreak havoc with your self-confidence. And, if you have genital warts, they can hamper your sex life.
At Specialists in Dermatology, our expert dermatologists treat warts at our offices in The Woodlands, Texas, and Houston, Texas. Although warts go away on their own, it can take a year or two. Untreated warts raise the chances that you infect others and yourself, too.
Do you have warts? Here’s how to keep them from spreading.
Don't pick your warts
It’s a natural impulse to remove any disfiguring bump, lump, or lesion from your skin, but you must resist it. If you pop pimples, you damage your skin and risk scarring. If you scrape or pick at a wart, you risk spreading the HPV to other areas of your body.
If you’re bothered by the way your warts look or feel, you don’t have to wait months or years for them to clear on their own. We effectively and safely remove warts. Getting rid of your warts as soon as possible minimizes the chance that you spread them on your own body or pass them to somebody else.
Don’t walk barefoot or share items
One of the most common ways to inadvertently infect somebody else with your warts is by walking barefoot on shared surfaces. You must wear sandals or flip flops if you’re in a:
- Shared bathroom
- Shared shower
Even stepping onto a bathmat when you emerge from the shower barefooted can transfer the virus to the mat. Also, be sure to never share towels, socks, or any other item that touches your warts.
Warts that change need immediate care
Other skin conditions can mimic warts. That’s why it’s always preferable to get a diagnosis when you notice an unusual growth or lesion on your skin. Contact us immediately if your warts:
- Bleed or ooze pus
- Feel warm or tender
- Change in color or shape
Some skin cancers, such as basal cell carcinoma, look like warts. If you have skin cancer, getting a diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible increases your chances for a cure. Don’t ignore “warts” that change, hurt, or bleed.
Warts always return
Unfortunately, once you’re infected with the strain of HPV that causes warts, it stays with you for life. Even after you treat and remove warts, they will recur after some time. However, removing your warts gives you a large window for clear skin and being non contagious.
If you’re ready to remove your warts, we use one of several methods, based on the type of wart and its location. We may choose:
- Cryotherapy with liquid nitrogen
- Scraping them off via curettage
- Peeling them with salicylic acid or other chemicals
- Destroying them with laser therapy
Keep yourself and others wart free by removing your warts today. Contact us at the Specialists in Dermatology office nearest you, or fill out our convenient online scheduling form.