Most people will have warts or verrucas at some point in their life. They’re generally harmless and tend to go away on their own eventually, but this can take a few months or even years. Warts are small lumps that develop on the skin and don’t spread easily, but they can be passed on from person to person through close skin contact or contact with contaminated objects or surfaces. Verrucas are a type of wart that affects the bottom of the feet.

How can I avoid? Suggested lifestyle changes...

It’s difficult to prevent warts and verrucas completely, but the following measures can help stop them spreading:

  • avoid touching other people’s warts – wash your hands after touching your own wart
  • avoid sharing towels, flannels, shoes and socks with other people
  • keep your feet and hands clean and dry
  • change your socks every day
  • don’t go barefoot in public places
  • cover warts and verrucas with a waterproof plaster or a verruca sock when swimming
  • avoid scratching or picking at warts or verrucas – this may spread the infection to other parts of your body
  • take care when shaving because warts can spread if you cut yourself
  • How do I treat?
  • Most warts and verrucas will eventually clear up without treatment. Pharmacy treatments include:
  • creams, gels, skin paints and medicated plasters containing salicylic acid – these soften the top layer of affected skin
  • cold sprays containing dimethyl ether propane – these freeze the wart, but they’re not thought to work as well as salicylic acid.

How do I treat?

Most warts and verrucas will eventually clear up without treatment. Pharmacy treatments include:

  • creams, gels, skin paints and medicated plasters containing salicylic acid – these soften and remove the top layer of affected skin
  • cold sprays containing dimethyl ether propane – these freeze the wart, but they’re not thought to work as well as salicylic acid

Speak to your pharmacist – for advice if you’re not sure which type of medicine is best for you and your symptoms.

Speak to your GP – if a wart bleeds or changes drastically in appearance.

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