Are Warts Contagious?

Warts are a type of skin condition caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. More than 100 types of papillomas have been identified, and all of them are considered contagious. However, all types of warts are not equally contagious.

The Most Contagious Vs. Less Contagious Types of Warts

Genital warts are highly contagious – one million and more new cases of warts’ infections, affecting the genital or anal area, are registered each year. At present, this type of warts’ infection is the most common sexually transmitted disease worldwide. The reason for the massive invasion of genital warts is the fact that condoms do not insure full protection. Genital warts can easily attack any area of your body which is not protected by the condom: mouth, throat, anus, etc. In addition, women may not know they are infected, as genital warts can grow inside the vagina. There are a few medical reports about cases of genital warts being transmitted from mothers to babies during delivery, as well as cases of people who got infected through direct contact with an infected swimming suit.

On the other hand, the common skin warts are completely different from the genital warts. These cannot be transmitted to the genitals, and they rarely lead to anything else than more skin warts. An infection with common warts occurs through a direct skin-to-skin contact or indirectly (when you touch an HPV infected object). This is especially true if your skin is wet or there are cuts, scratches, etc., on it. And even then, you might not get infected because some people are naturally resistant to HPV viruses: one in four individuals is prone to common warts. Most wart infections have an incubation period of several months.

Making Warts Less Contagious

Warts can be made less contagious if you observe proper hygienic practices and carry out effective treatment in case of infection. The most common wart treatment options include:

1. Over-the-counter treatment based on the use of salicylic acid in various forms: gels, drops, plasters, etc. Do not use salicylic acid in case you have of diabetes, and do not apply on sensitive areas of the body.

2. Over-the-counter treatment based on the freezing method. This treatment uses aerosols to freeze warts at a temperature of minus 57 C (70 F).

3. The cryosurgery is a method of freezing the warts with liquid nitrogen at a temperature of minus 196 C (320 F).

4. Laser treatment which is used for recalcitrant warts.

(Methods #3 and #4 should be used carefully and by a trained dermatologist.

* Home-made remedies are typically based on salicylic acid and duct tape (or superglue). Cover the warts with tape to suffocate them and wait. It takes several weeks before you would get rid of the warts.

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