Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The truth about Warts

Regardless of what the fairy tales may say, you can't get warts from toads.
Nope, no-way, impossible.

But you could get warts from your neighbor, the door handle at the store or the bench at the gym. That's because warts are caused by a virus.  And this virus is everywhere.  It is spread from person to person.  Maybe shaking hands or maybe touching something that has the virus on it spreads the virus around.

Whether you get warts or not depends a lot on how well your immune system is able to attack the virus.  Strong immune systems are able to attack and kill the virus.  Most adults have that type of immunity, children not so much.  That is why warts usually are more of a problem for younger people than adults.

There is not a treatment to kill the wart virus.  The best we can do is blister it off or encourage the natural immune system to attack the virus.  The infamous "Old wives tales" recommend anything and everything that "works" to rid the person of the unsightly warts.  Duct tape, vinegar, onion peel, or remove the "seeds" are just a few.   There are also many over-the-counter remedies.  The medical profession freeze, chemically treat or cut out warts.  Sometimes these funny or medical treatments work.  Sometimes not.

From a medical perspective, freezing warts is the preferred method because it reduces the chance for a scar to develop.  But we also use a chemical (extracted from beetles!) that causes the skin to blister or there may be a combination of cutting down and freezing or chemical treatment for really healthy warts.  If your immune response is great, one treatment could do the trick.  It may take a couple of tries.

In the end, it all depends on the size, location and depth of the wart and how the immune system responds to the treatment.   Our providers do their best to provide the right conditions for your body to fight back.  But these treatments can get expensive (especially if your insurance applies them toward your deductible), and you could spend a lot of money and still have warts.  Especially after three or four attempts.  It really stinks.  We wish there was a better way.  We just keep trying and hopefully something will trigger the immune response we need to kill the virus.

So go ahead and go catch toads with your children and grandchildren.

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