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Health Corner

187-Health_2Warts

~ A common childhood skin infection ~

Warts are skin infections caused by viruses and are usually painless, unless they are under your foot or somewhere on your body that gets bumped or touched all the time. More common in children than adults, most warts are harmless and go away on their own eventually.

Kids can pick up the virus and get a wart by touching anything that someone who has a wart has touched, including towels, sheets, cups, tables and cell phones; basically any surface touched by a person with the virus. This is another reason why it's important not to share drinks or use the same utensils, and why washing your hands with soap and warm water is important.

There are four types of warts:

Common warts – a small hard bump, usually greyish brown, which looks like the top of a cauliflower with black dots inside. They are most often found on fingers, hands, knees and elbows.

Flat warts – these are small, like the top of a pin. They can be pink, light brown or yellow, and often are found on the face, but can also be on hands and arms.

Plantar wart – these from under the foot and can be painful as well as uncomfortable, like walking with a stone in your shoe. Wearing sandals in public swimming pools, showers and bathrooms would be a good idea to avoid getting a plantar wart.

Filiform warts – these usually grow on or around the mouth, nose or face and are finger shaped and skin coloured.

If the wart is not causing any problems, it is not necessary to have it removed; it will go away on its own in six months to two years. If necessary, a doctor can remove the wart in various ways:-

* prescribing medication to put on the wart

* burning the wart off with a tiny bit of electricity

* freezing the wart with liquid nitrogen

It is important not to scratch or pick at the wart, as you will probably then spread the virus to other parts of your body and get another wart.

If a wart changes shape or colour, bleeds, releases pus or is painful, you should go to your doctor who can decide what treatment is necessary.

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