Common warts affect millions of people in the US and are not limited to a specific demographic meaning anyone can develop warts at different points in life. There are some groups that are considered more prone to warts than others, these will include:
- Children and teenagers
- People suffering from a weakened immune system
- People that tend to bite and pick at fingernails.
The common wart usually affects the hands and fingers, although can spread to other parts of the body, they are also contagious and can be passed on to other people. The reason that these warts appear in the first place is due to a virus known as human papillomavirus (HPV).
HPV is a very common problem, and it is likely that most people will suffer from the virus at some point in their lives. In most cases, this happens as children and passes on with no symptoms or ill effects. Children and teenagers are most at risk of the virus, and as we grow older, the body begins to develop immunity from the symptoms of HPV.
There is known to be 100 or more different strains of the HPV virus, with different types leading to different problems, the most common of those being the common wart. HPV causes a rapid growth of cells on the outer layer of skin resulting in a circular grayish brown shaped growth with a cauliflower-like appearance, which is the common wart.
How do You Get Warts?
There are a number of ways that a person can develop common warts, the most probable is catching the HPV virus from another person. This could be from directly touching another person’s wart or touching something that a wart has previously been in contact with, for instance, a towel. Cuts and scrapes to the skin also leave the body at risk of the HPV virus and thus warts. Damaging the skin is a leading reason for wart problems in children.
Although the HPV virus may be present in the body, it is unlikely that you will feel any ill effects, and it can often take several months until a wart develops enough to be noticeable.
Having a wart similar to those mentioned will not pose any risk to health, although they can be irritable and embarrassing, they can also spread to other parts of the body leading to the treatment being needed. There are many different kinds of treatment that can be administered to remove a wart from the skin; unfortunately, none have the ability to rid the body of the virus leaving a patient at risk of warts returning. Treatments can also be expensive, which deters many people.
To avoid treatment be needed at all, it is best to take steps to lower the risk of catching the HPV virus in the first instance, after all, no virus no warts!
Preventing Common Warts
The best way to prevent warts developing is to avoid any contact with human papillomavirus; of course, this is not always possible. If you do catch the virus having a strong immune system will allow your body to fight off the infection before warts become a problem. Keeping a strong immune system can be done easily through diet and exercise. Drinking plenty of water, eating fruit and vegetables and reducing the intake of fat, sugar, and alcohol will ensure that the body’s natural defense system has the ability to fight off any virus.
Steps can also be taken to avoid the HPV virus and the common wart altogether. These will include:
- Not touching warts on other people either directly or indirectly.
- Not sharing items such as towels, socks, razors or gloves with other people, even if that person has no visible signs of warts.
- Keeping skin dry at all times
- Avoid any damage to the skin such as cuts and grazes. Where the skin is damaged, be sure to keep in clean and dry. Covering any cuts when in public places can also prove beneficial.