Warts are generally caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). They usually aren’t painful, however, they can become a cause of worry, as they can be transferred from one person to another. Let us discuss common warts on hands in detail.
Warts are small, raised, rough bumps or lesions, sometimes also described as tumors, which may occur on any part of the body, which itch and ooze. They resemble blisters or may look like a small cauliflower. These lumps are, however, non-cancerous. They are painful only when they occur at the sole of the feet and any area on the hands that can bump into other surfaces.
There are different types of warts, including genital warts. However, warts on the hands and feet are the most common. They tend to grow on any part of the body including the palms and soles of the feet. They affect the top layer of the skin.
The dictionary meaning of a wart is; “A hard rough lump growing on the skin, caused by infection with certain viruses and occurring typically on the hands or feet.”
There are over hundred types of human papillomavirus. Of these, around 30 to 40 viruses cause genital warts. The rest cause common warts. Common warts are those that usually occur on the hands, feet, etc.
Types of Warts
There are three types of warts that occur on the hands, viz; common warts, flat or plain warts, and periungual warts. Common warts have a bumpy, dome-like surface. They are rough in texture and grayish-brown in color. They are more common in children and are mostly seen on the hands.
Flat or plain warts are smooth in texture. They are comparatively smaller in size and are light pink, light yellow or light brown in color. They appear on the surface of the arms and sometimes even on the legs or face, mostly in clusters. These warts are more common in kids than in adults.
Periungual warts are rough and uneven in nature. They are very common in people who have a habit of biting their nails. They also affect nail growth. They usually appear around fingernails and toenails.
Causes of Warts
The human papillomavirus strains are the prime cause of warts. As discussed earlier, the trigger is the virus and the main reason behind it, is its contagiousness. The virus infects the skin as well the mucous membrane which makes it contagious. Since warts are contagious, another cause of warts is their transmission.
There are more than a hundred different types of human papillomavirus and each one affects a different body part. Of these, the common virus types 1, 2 and 3, are mainly held responsible for the warts appearing on hands and feet. Also, an infected person can spread the virus to other parts of his body, especially if he has warts on his hands and fingers. Warts can be transferred from one person to another by mere skin contact. Sharing of towels, shoes, clothes, napkins, etc., are other causes of warts.
People who bite their nails are likely to spread warts to their fingertips and areas around the nails. A person with damaged or wet skin, that brushes through rough surfaces, is more likely to contract this infection, too. A person with bruises or scratches may contract this infection mostly in public places, like public swimming pools, etc.
A person with a weak immune system will contract HPV quickly.
Different Ways of Treating Warts
Usually, most of the warts clear up on their own. However, the time span taken to clear up may differ from person to person. Hence, the easiest remedy to get rid of warts is to leave them alone. Since the healing process may take long, most people choose to get warts treated. Listed below are few things one can do in order to get rid of warts.
Immerse the skin of the infected area in water for about 5 minutes or a little more. Then apply this acid over the wart and leave it to dry. After it dries, peel off the acid and file the dry skin. Repeat this process every 3 days.
Stick a piece of duct tape on the wart. Leave it on for about 6 days and then remove it. Then soak the wart in warm water for about 5 minutes, and use a pumice stone to clear off the soft skin and dead tissue. Note that the stone is not used by another person in the future. Leave the wart open overnight and stick a new duct tape the next day. Repeat this process till the wart disappears (may take about 2 months).
Cantharidin is a chemical that will burn the wart off. After applying it, bandage the wart and open it the next day. Then scrape out the dead skin. The process may have to be repeated if the wart doesn’t disappear in the first go. It is painful, but the results are quick. Seek advice from a doctor before putting this method to practice.
Sometimes, the body does not understand the occurrence of a wart. The immunotherapy will stimulate the immune system, helping it to recognize the wart. The body’s immune system will then fight the infection on its own. The plus point of this therapy is, it leaves no scars behind.
This method will be implemented by the doctor. Through this method, the doctor will freeze the wart. This treatment may cause discomfort, however, it is very effective. This process may have to be repeated if the wart does not disappear in the first try.
Try using topical creams that are recommended by a medical practitioner for warts. These creams are effective in getting rid of all kinds of warts.
Though warts are cut off, they are most likely to reoccur after a surgery is conducted. The surgery will also leave behind scars. However, a surgery is the last resort for stubborn warts. The doctor will use surgery as an option only when no other treatments work.
Use a sterilized needle to poke the wart. As you keep poking the wart, it is introduced in the blood stream. This process will signal your body of the presence of these warts. In most cases, the body fights these warts after recognizing their presence. If you have several warts, poking just one of them might solve your problem. As your body starts fighting them off, all the warts will seem to disappear. Immersing the wart in hot water is an easy way of getting rid of it. Hot water will soften the skin and help in killing the virus.
Make a paste of castor oil and baking powder. Apply this mixture on the wart and bandage it. Similar pastes like vitamin C tablets and water, aspirin and water, toothpaste, etc., can be applied on the wart as well. Repeat the process as per your requirement. Castor oil, tea tree oil, olive oil, vitamin E oil, etc., and lemon, pineapple, juice, apple cider vinegar, warm water and sea salt, banana peel, fig pulp, etc., can also be used to treat warts. Ointments containing povidone-iodine (PVPI) can be used too.
Children are more susceptible to warts, since they are more active. Warts can be passed through direct or indirect contact. There is no cure for HPV. Once it is contracted, it stays in the DNA for life.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.