How to Treat Verrucas at Home

Are you struggling with verrucas and want to treat them at home? You don’t have to suffer with painful and unsightly verrucas any longer! Learn how to treat them effectively and safely in the comfort of your own home.

Quick facts: Treating Verrucas At Home

  • ✅ Wearing water shoes or shower shoes when using showers and public swimming pools can help reduce the spread of verrucas. (American Academy of Dermatology)
  • ✅ Cryotherapy (freezing) is the most common treatment for verrucas, followed by salicylic acid, which is applied to the affected area. (National Health Service)
  • ✅ A combination of two treatments, cryotherapy and salicylic acid, is most effective in treating verrucas. (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence)
  • ✅ Verrucas are contagious and can be spread through direct contact or contact with contaminated surfaces, such as shower floors and swimming pool floors. (Mayo Clinic)
  • ✅ Over-the-counter preparations containing salicylic acid or lactic acid are considered safe and effective for treating verrucas at home. (American Academy of Dermatology)

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Verruca Basics

Verrucas are caused by a virus called human papillomavirus (HPV) and are usually found on the feet, hands or elbows. They are most common in children and those with weakened immune systems. Verrucas can range in size, colour and texture and may appear as a white or skin coloured lump, a dark spot or tiny bumps.

Let’s cover the basics of verrucas and how to treat them at home:

What is a Verruca?

A verruca is a type of wart caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). It typically appears as a small, round, raised bump on the skin and is usually painless. Verrucas can appear anywhere on the body but are most common on the hands, feet, and face. They are contagious and can spread through contact with an infected person or through contact with surfaces used by an infected person such as towels or shower floors.

Verrucas tend to be white or gray in color, although they may also be brown or even black. They are often surrounded by a hard layer of skin that looks like a callus and can feel rough when touched.

Treatment for verrucas includes:

  • Over-the-counter medications
  • Home remedies such as using duct tape and salicylic acid products
  • Cryotherapy (freezing)
  • Laser therapy
  • Surgery

Causes and Symptoms

Verrucas are small, hard, thickened lumps on the skin caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). They can vary in appearance from small white dots (which are dead skin cells) to more raised and thicker lumps with a rough surface. The most common locations for verrucas are the soles and toes, but they can also appear on hands, knees, and elbows.

Some of the causes of verrucas include:

  • Sharing items such as towels or socks with someone who already has a verruca.
  • Walking barefoot in public areas such as swimming pools.

Symptoms of verrucas include:

  • A hard lump or cluster of lumps on the skin that is usually white or grey.
  • Pain when pressure is applied to them.
  • Itching.
  • Oozing fluid or blood.

It’s important to note that not all lumps on the skin are caused by verrucas and it’s important to visit your doctor if you suspect you may have one.

Home Treatment

Verrucas are common and can be treated at home with a range of different methods. The most common treatments for verrucas include topical creams, freezing with liquid nitrogen, home remedies, and duct tape. Although it is possible to treat verrucas at home, it is important to ensure that you are following the correct steps and that the treatments are undertaken safely.

Let’s explore the different home treatments available:

Over-the-counter Treatments

When it comes to treating Verrucas, there are a few different over-the-counter treatments available. One of the most common is salicylic acid, which can be purchased in the form of a gel, cream or medicated tape. Salicylic acid works by softening and destroying the hard outer layer of the Verruca, allowing for treatment of the core infection.

Other over-the-counter treatments include:

  • Cryotherapy (freezing) products
  • Creams or liquids containing antiviral compounds like benzocaine or thymol.

These creams can help reduce symptoms associated with verrucas such as pain and itching. It is important to note however that while these creams may help alleviate symptoms they won’t actually get rid of the underlying infection.

Natural Remedies

Natural remedies for Verrucas include topical treatments made from the oils of garlic, tea tree, and lemon. These are thought to assist in killing off the virus that causes the infection. Additionally, there are multiple over-the-counter options, such as salicylic acid plasters and gels designed to help reduce the size and presence of the verruca over time. It is important to note that some natural remedies can be highly irritating to the skin, so it is always best to consult a doctor before trying them.

Other home treatment options for verrucas include:

  • Using duct tape or
  • Applying a combination of apple cider vinegar and castor oil directly onto the wart.

Duct tape can be placed overtop of warts for up to six days at a time; then be removed overnight before reapplying it again for another six days. The purpose of this treatment is for suffocation of the virus causing the wart. Applying apple cider vinegar mixed with castor oil directly onto a wart (after soaking it in warm water) can also help reduce its size over time.

Prevention

Prevention is key when it comes to treating verrucas. It is important to take steps to prevent the spread of the virus that causes verrucas to other people or to other parts of your own body.

Cleaning your feet regularly, especially in warm and damp environments, can help reduce the risk of infection. Additionally, avoiding walking barefoot in public places, such as swimming pools and changing rooms, can help reduce your risk of contracting a verruca.

Wear Shoes in Public Areas

Wearing shoes in public areas is an important part of preventing verrucas. Verrucas are highly contagious, and can be spread from one foot to another, or from someone else’s feet to yours. Therefore, it is important to always wear shoes in public places such as pools, locker rooms, showers, and public bathrooms. This will prevent you from picking up the virus that causes verrucas and spreading it to your feet.

Additionally, if you have had a recent verruca outbreak, it is important to wear closed-toe shoes while waiting for treatment or while taking preventive measures. Wear flip flops and other open-toe shoes with caution, as the virus can still live on the flooring of public areas and be transferred onto your skin through contact with those surfaces.

Avoid Contact with Infected Areas

Verruca, also known as plantar warts, are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) and generally affect the soles of your feet. To help prevent infection of new verrucas, it is important to practice good hygiene and avoid contact with any infected areas.

It is essential to keep the affected areas clean, dry and covered at all times. Avoid walking barefoot in public areas such as showers and locker rooms. Disinfect your feet regularly or wear waterproof footwear or flip-flops to protect from bacterial contamination. Steer clear of any direct contact with other people’s verrucas, whether it’s through sharing personal items or touching each other’s feet.

When to See a Doctor

Verrucas are a common cause of discomfort and can sometimes be difficult to treat. Although it is possible to treat some verrucas at home, there are times when it is necessary to see a doctor. Knowing when to seek professional help is essential for successful treatment and prevention of any further complications.

Let’s explore the signs you should watch out for:

When Home Remedies Fail

Home remedies for treating verrucas, such as using duct tape or over-the-counter medications, are often effective treatments. However, sometime these home remedies fail to work or the verruca persists and continues to spread. In this case, it may be best to see a doctor.

Seeing a doctor can help determine the best course of treatment and will usually include one of three options:

  • Freezing the wart off with liquid nitrogen;
  • Burning it off with an electric current; or
  • Cutting it out.

Treatment may involve multiple visits and require aftercare in between visits. Visiting a physician is important if home remedies have failed because more serious conditions such as cancer or infection can mimic warts and require further diagnosis.

When the Verruca is Painful or Bleeding

When a verruca becomes painful and/or bleeds, it is best to seek medical attention as it may indicate that the infection has spread beyond the skin’s surface. Painful and/or bleeding verrucas should be examined by a doctor or nurse who can prescribe the appropriate treatment. Additionally, if the verruca is located on a child under 16 years of age, they should be seen by a healthcare professional.

If left untreated, the infection can worsen and cause more discomfort or potentially complications. Additionally, if symptoms do not improve after trying at-home remedies for several weeks or months, medical professional help may be required to further treat the infection.

Complications

Although verrucas can often be treated at home, there can be complications that arise. As with any medical condition, it is important to be aware of any potential risks. In this section, we will discuss the various complications associated with treating verrucas at home:

  • Pain and discomfort
  • Infection
  • Allergic reactions
  • Scarring
  • Spread of the verruca

Infection

If a verruca is scratched, bumped or otherwise irritated it may become infected. Infection can cause the lesion (verruca) to become more painful and change in shape or size. It is important to examine your verrucas regularly and be particularly aware of any changes in color, shape or firmness; if these occur, you should see a doctor for advice immediately.

If the verruca becomes infected you may experience redness and warmth around the area; your doctor will be able to assess this and advise on the best course of treatment which may involve:

  • Antibiotics
  • Antifungal creams or lotions

Spread of the Verruca

When it comes to the spread of a verruca, there are some precautions you can take to reduce risk. This includes avoiding direct contact with the verruca and rigorous hand washing after contact. It’s important to note that while verrucas are contagious, they are not airborne and can only be transferred through direct contact.

It is also important to consider that if you have a verruca on your foot, it is possible for you to spread the virus from one area of your foot to another by walking on it; this is known as auto-inoculation. This can be prevented by wearing socks with seams, as this will reduce pressure on all areas of your foot when walking or running.

When treating a verruca at home, it’s important not to share implements such as files and sponge pads with anyone else who may have a similar condition.

FAQs about: Treating Verrucas At Home

Q: How can I treat a verruca at home?

A: You can try over-the-counter treatments such as salicylic acid or duct tape occlusion. However, if these do not work, you should visit your doctor for further treatment.

Q: How long does it take for a verruca to go away with home treatment?

A: It can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months for a verruca to go away with home treatment. It is important to be patient and consistent with the treatment.

Q: Is it safe to treat a verruca at home?

A: Yes, it is generally safe to treat a verruca at home as long as you follow the instructions on the product packaging. If you are unsure, it is best to consult your doctor.

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