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Treating Finger Warts

By: Sarah Knowles BA, MA - Updated: 26 Aug 2011 | comments*Discuss
Warts Finger Disappear Hpv Virus Human

Earlier this year, an impatient security guard from Doncaster got completely fed up with having a persistent wart on his finger, which refused to budge despite numerous ointments and creams prescribed by his GP.

So Sean Murphy, 38, decided to try a unique remedy to make his wart disappear - and it worked. He shot off the wart with a 12-bore Berretta handgun, and sure enough, the wart never came back.

Unfortunately, neither did his middle finger, which was shot off so completely it was impossible to reattach.

Why Remove Warts?

Warts are almost always harmless, but nobody likes having them in places where they are easily visible to others – especially children (and, evidently, security guards). That’s why when kids have warts on their hands, especially their fingers, they almost always opt to have them removed.

The majority of both warts and verrucas will disappear on their own within a specific time frame, without any treatment whatsoever. But some warts take months to completely go away, which can leave a child open to ridicule and taunts from classmates.

Finger warts, if they grow big enough, can also be painful or itchy and sometimes can interfere with simple day-to-day tasks, such as tying shoelaces and writing – and they are contagious as well. Yet another reason to have them taken off.

What are Finger Warts?

Finger warts, like all warts, occur due to the human papilloma virus, also known as HPV. There are more than 60 known strains of HPV, and it can affect many parts of the human body apart from the fingers, such as the feet and even the genitals.

Finger warts form when the human papilloma virus infects the top layer of the skin, also known as the epidermis. If you manage to successfully damage the blood vessels that lie underneath and feed the wart, it will fall off – usually without any type of scar whatsoever. Alternatively, eventually your body will produce antibodies to the virus, and the wart will suddenly disappear on its own.

Of all the warts, finger warts that form on the fingers and around the fingernails are by far the most common. Most warts fall off easily with just a few treatments, prescribed by your GP. In rare cases, however, several different treatments will have to be prescribed before you find one that works.

Types of Treatments

There are several different types of treatment available to get rid of finger warts. The most common ones are:
  • Salicylic acid. On average, three out of every four finger warts can be cured by using this treatment, which can be bought over the counter, making your pharmacist your first port of call.
  • Cryosurgery. This method involves literally freezing the wart off, which can be mildly painful. The wart will begin to look red and blistered within a few hours and feel tingly, then eventually will fall off. While over-the-counter remedies are available, for children in particular this is best done by a professional. See your GP.
  • Duct Tape. Some people advocate the use of duct tape, which must be worn for about six days over the offending wart. The idea is that eventually your body will produce an immune response to this “foreign body” and make the wart go away. The verdict is out about whether this is a valid treatment or not, but it certainly isn’t harmful to try.
Be wary of online claims that a simple ointment or miracle potion can make a wart disappear. If you have a persistent wart, see your GP and get a treatment that really works, instead of wasting money on a bogus “cure”.

Keep in mind also that verrucas, or warts that appear on the feet, can be very painful to walk on. Although they also will disappear without treatment many people opt to have them removed by freezing.

See Your GP

Security Guard Murphy told The Daily Mail that he had suffered with his wart for more than five years, but it stubbornly refused to budge. Hopefully, if you have warts they will be less stubborn than his.

Warts are very contagious, as the human papilloma virus is passed easily from one person to another. Many children also fiddle with their finger warts, causing them to bleed and making them even more contagious to others. Painting the wart with clear nail varnish will make it less contagious until it disappears.

With the right treatment, however, a finger wart can go away quickly and painlessly. See your GP today and learn which treatment is best for you, or your child.

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