The lowdown on warts

By Drum Digital
09 May 2014

Common warts are often found on children’s hands and knees. We look at the various types of warts and how to treat them.

Warts are a prevalent complaint and are caused by a skin virus. Different kinds of warts can occur in different places.

Examples include:

  • Common warts: These are the most prevalent kind and are often found on children’s hands and knees.
  • Flat (plane) warts: They usually occur on skin parts that are shaven, often in large numbers.
  • Filiform warts: They typically appear as a single long stalk, often on eyelids, next to the mouth and other parts of the face.
  • Genital warts: They appear in the genital area and look like small cauliflower-like growths.
  • Plantar warts: These are found on the soles of feet and can be painful.

Most warts disappear spontaneously within two to three years, especially in children. Warts aren’t a serious condition but can spread to other parts of the body, resulting in social discomfort. It’s better to see a doctor is if you’re uncertain about the diagnosis, if warts are painful or if they occur in the genital area.

How to treat warts

  • It’s important to prevent the virus from spreading. Don’t scratch a wart or shave over it. Wear footwear in showers and saunas and avoid unnecessary contact with someone else’s warts.
  • Home treatment includes applying a product containing salicylic acid and/or other peeling and skin-softening ingredients.
  • Treatment with silver nitrate in the form of a pencil is slow, may take months to work and unfortunately is often unsuccessful.
  • The most common medical treatment is to freeze the warts with liquid nitrogen (cryotherapy).

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