You may not get a wart from kissing a frog in hopes it turns into a prince (or princess), but you can get warts from direct contact with that prince or princess.
Warts are caused by a contagious virus -- human papillomavirus (HPV). There are around 60 strains of HPV, only some of which cause the excessive skin cell growth that results in warts. Warts normally spread person-to-person through contact when there's a break in the skin. Kids, because of their less developed immune systems, get warts more often than adults (but their warts tend to go away, whereas adults' stick around).
And not all warts are the same. The different types include:
- Common warts, usually found on the hands, tops of feet, arms and legs
- Flat warts, commonly found on the face and neck
- Plantar warts, which appear on the bottom on your foot
- Palmer warts, located on the hand
- Genital warts
If you look closely at a wart, you can sometimes see what appear to be little dark seeds. What you're looking at are blood vessels that have switched teams, and now supply oxygen and nutrients to that dreaded interloper.
Prevention is key when it comes to warts. Don't touch warts, not even your own -- they can be spread from one part of the body to another. Immediately wash your hands if you do touch them. Use caution when shaving around them, or you may spread them around your skin.
Consider warts the way you would look at any other contagious skin disease. If your roommate has warts, don't share personal hygiene products like soap, deodorant and especially razors. Wear footwear in public places, particularly gym locker rooms, showers and around swimming pools. Don't share towels, clothing or socks with others.
But if you have one already, what's the best way to zap it? Keep reading to find out.