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Warts are small, harmless tumors caused by viruses. Left alone, many of them will eventually disappear by themselves. They're harmless, quite common, and very contagious. Most people get warts by contact with someone who has them. Contact can be indirect, too, as in a community shower or swimming pool. Wearing sandals or thongs in these areas will minimize the risk.

When you come into contact with one of the wart-causing viruses, they infect the skin and multiply. Usually, the wart grows bigger over time and can take on a rough, scaly appearance. There are many types of warts and they can develop almost anywhere on the body: common warts, usually found on the hands and fingers; plantar warts, small, hard kernels found on the soles of feet; flat warts, seen most often on the faces of children and young adults, are smooth, flat and yellow-brown in color; genital warts, generally larger and softer than other warts; and periungal warts, caused by excessive fingernail biting.

Many non-prescription products are available to remove common warts. But keep in mind not all popular remedies are right for everyone or every wart. For example, diabetics or others with poor circulation should not use wart removers. In any case, consult with your doctor or pharmacist before self-medicating. Good hygiene practices, such as washing your hands frequently, will help prevent the spreading of warts to other parts of your body, and to others.

It is important to consult your physician or pharmacist before using any over-the-counter drugs or treatments. They will be able to advise you on proper usage and can warn you of possible side effects and contraindications.


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