What is a WART ( Viral Wart)?
Warts are viral infections caused by certain strains of Human Pappiloma virus (HPV).
The HPV virus causes growths on the surface of the skin.
What body parts does WARTS affect?
Common warts involve any body part mainly the hands and feet. They may also spread to the beard, face, scalp and rarely lips, ears and nails. Genital areas may be affected where it is usually sexually transmitted.
What do WARTS look like?
Warts appear grayish with a rough surface. When moist they may appear white. Warts may be flat or well raised from the skin surface. Some may appear like thin finger like or thread like projections.
How do WARTS spread?
As it a viral infection, it spreads from person to person and to different parts in the same person. Virus can spread through fomites(shared objects) which are infected. Individual immunity determines whether the warts progress or automatically regress or remain static.
What are the symptoms of Warts?
Warts are generally painless growths. Being asymptomatic, many patients don’t seek treatment for them for a long time. This may give opportunity for warts to spread. Rarely there is itching or pain or redness of surrounding skin.
How can VIRAL WARTS identified?
Warts may be mistaken for skin tags, moles and corns or calluses all of which are not infective. Qualified skin experts can readily differentiate b/w the above conditions and warts. Sometimes tiny black points may be noticed within warts which are absent in the above. Also corns don’t lose the continuity of skin lines which are lost in warts.
Can a person have extensive Warts?
Yes. People who have body parts, usually hands or feet, immersed in water for a long time or who have excessive sweating may experience fast and extensive spread of warts.
Genital warts may become florid to involve glans penis, prepuce, shaft of penis, scrotum and also thighs in males. Also in females, there is fast spread due to continuous wetness.
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT OF WARTS?
Various treatments are available for treating warts. Treatment depends on the age of patient and the area to be treated.
Creams containing salicylic acid and retinoids are used for treatment of warts, but they must be used after consultation with a doctor as they must be used after consultation with a doctor as they may cause skin irritation. Warts need to be destroyed as the virus does not get destroyed by medication. Treatment includes the following
CRYOTHERAPY– In this treatment, the warts are frozen by the doctor and the dead skin along with the wart is removed.
ELECTROCAUTERY– The warts are coagulated with the help of skin cautery or Radio frequency machine.
LASER ABLATION OF WARTS– Laser can be used to destroy the warty skin
IMMUNOMODULATION– Inspite of all treatments, warts have a tendency to recur and medication to improve immunity are an important part of treatment.