Health tips

I love a good verruca

The title says it all.  What’s not to love about a verruca?

I love verrucas because when I’ve had a really long hard day; full of sick babies and tough consultations, a verruca will walk in through the door and make me smile (weirdo, I know).

I’ve been the proud owner of verrucas, I’ve treated hundreds of other people’s and I’ve read the verruca research (no joke).

So here is a no-fuss no-frills verruca tutorial for all you verruca fighters (and lovers) out there.

What are verrucas?

They are warts that occur on the foot and are completely harmless, caused by a wart virus and spread by close contact.

Do you have to treat them?

Nope.  The virus that causes warts will naturally die within about 2 years, so even if you didn’t do anything to treat it – it would eventually go away.

The exception to this is if your child irritates or keeps picking at the wart.  This may upset the skin around it and leave some thickening of the skin behind even after the wart virus itself has died.

How do you treat a verruca?

You don’t need to see a GP/nurse as verrucas are easily treated at home by purchasing a wart-killing product from the pharmacy/supermarket.

(It pains me to say this because my life would be incomplete without a verruca or two walking through my door now and again)

NB Do see someone if you are at all worried or unsure about the diagnosis.  Skin lumps and bumps that are getting bigger, changing colour, bleeding or causing any symptoms that worry you should always be checked out.

TREATMENT OPTION 1)  Salicylic acid (i.e. Salactol, Bazuka, Scholl verruca gel)

The wart virus causes the skin to overly replicate and thicken.

Salicylic acid burns off that thickened skin.

Once you burn off those thick skin layers you will get to the verruca itself hiding underneath and it will then die.

Salicylic acid will also burn the normal healthy skin lying around the verruca if you are not careful, so here is the best way to treat a verruca quickly and with minimal side effects:

VERRUCA ROUTINE

  • put Vaseline around the healthy skin surrounding the verruca

  • drop some salicylic acid on the verruca

  • let it dry

  • pop a plaster (or tape) over the top

Then the next time your little one has a bath/shower- remove the plaster, peel/soak off the salicylic acid and use a foot file/pumice stone to file away any dead skin cells.

And repeat.  Vaseline, salicylic acid, plaster/tape, file.

Try to file the wart down at least once a week and apply the salicylic acid as frequently as you can remember to (or your child allows you to).

I know with little ones it can be a struggle to keep this routine going for 12 weeks, but on average it will take about that long to get rid of the verruca.

TREATMENT OPTION 2) Freezing 

There are now all sorts of treatments on the market to freeze verrucas.  The freezing also burns off the thick layers of cells overlying the verruca.

Studies have shown that freezing a verruca is no better than using salicylic acid.  It is no faster either.

I don’t recommend using freezing products on young children because it can be uncomfortable.  I’ve tried it on my own skin and it feels like a sting.

Albeit a very mild sting and completely tolerable, chances are they then won’t let you near it ever again…so best stick with the salicylic acid or just leave it alone.

Here is a link to the research (I wasn’t kidding)  http://www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.d3271

Final words…

Warts on the face, warts that cause pain and warts that just look plain weird…please go see your GP (and make their day).

Dr Claudia x

Please note: The materials in this web site are in no way intended to replace the professional medical care, advice, diagnosis or treatment of a doctor. The web site does not have answers to all problems. Answers to specific problems may not apply to everyone. If you notice medical symptoms or feel ill, you should consult your doctor. Dr Claudia x

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