Different HPV strains cause different warts. The wart-causing virus can be passed on by close skin-to-skin contact, and through contact with towels or shoes.
The virus can spread to other parts of the body through:
Having wet or damaged skin, and coming into contact with rough surfaces increase the risk of infection.
For example, a person with scratches or cuts on the soles of their feet is more likely to develop a verruca in and around public swimming pools.
Wearing shower shoes or flip flops while using public showers or walking near public swimming pools can help prevent this.
The risk of catching warts from another person is low, but they can be passed on, especially if the person has a compromised immune system. This includes people with HIV or AIDS, and those using immunosuppressants following a transplant.
Genital warts are more contagious.
Handling meat as an occupation will also increase the risk of contracting warts. A study carried out by the American Academy of Family Physicians showed that 33 percent of slaughterhouse workers and 34 percent of retail butchers have warts on the hand.
Most warts are harmless, but some strains of HPV can cause warts on, in, or around the genitals.
These warts can be more serious. In women, they can potentially lead to cervical, anal, and vulvovaginal cancer.
In men, anal cancer and cancer of the glans penis can also occur as a result of infection with some types of genital warts.
Anyone who develops genital warts should see their
doctor for assessment.
People at higher risk of developing common warts include:
In most cases, your doctor can diagnose a common wart with one or more of these techniques:
Most common warts go away without treatment, though it may take a year or two and new ones may develop nearby. Some people choose to have their warts treated by a doctor because home treatment isn't working and the warts are bothersome, spreading or a cosmetic concern.
The goals of treatment are to destroy the wart, stimulate an immune system response to fight the virus, or both. Treatment may take weeks or months. Even with treatment, warts tend to recur or spread. Doctors generally start with the least painful methods, especially when treating young children.
Your doctor may suggest one of the following approaches, based on the location of your warts, your symptoms and your preferences. These methods are sometimes used in combination with home treatments, such as salicylic acid.
Side effects of cryotherapy include pain, blistering and discolored skin in the treated area. Because this technique can be painful, it is usually not used to treat the warts of young children.
To reduce your risk of common warts: