I see warts commonly, today in fact. They are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). There are more than 100 types of HPV. HPV infects the skin where there are nicks in the skin and causes cells to proliferate and make a thickened, warty bump. Risk factors include using communal showers or changing rooms, being a meat handler for a job (interesting, huh?), and having a weak immune system. The HPV vaccine given to adolescents is targeted against genital warts, not to the HPV types that cause common warts.
Do not pick or scratch the wart. You may spread the virus and get more warts. Warts are harmless and usually resolve spontaneously within months to years. There are very few, large, high-quality studies to show effective treatments for warts. In those few studies, topical salicylic acid and cryotherapy (freezing with liquid nitrogen) have been found to be most effective. There are countless home remedies, but none have showed much promise in good studies.
What should you do if you or your child has nongenital warts? You can be patient– as natural immunity will help clear the warts over time in most patients. Or try a tried-and-true method as above.
Your doctor can help.