Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
A wart is a generally small, rough, cauliflower-like growth, typically on hands and feet. Warts are common and contagious, and are caused by a viral infection, specifically by the aerobic Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). They typically disappear after a few months but can last for years and can recur. A few Papilloma viruses are known to cause cancer.
Possible treatments for warts include:
- Cryosurgery, which involves freezing the wart, after which the wart and surrounding dead skin falls off by itself.
- Cryosurgery followed by surgically removing the infected spot.
- Treatment with chemical compounds, containing salicylic acid, blistering agents, or immune system modifiers
- Laser treatment
None of these treatments is very effective on single uses; the wart often returns after the skin has healed from the treatment, but repeated treatment should rid the wart permanently. As they dissapear after a few months and maximally a few years, treatment is unnecessary only if the lesions are painful or are a cosmetic problem.
A household remedy whose efficacy has been ratified by at least one study is placing a piece of duct tape (medical tape works too) over the affected area for a week at a time, and rubbing off the dead wart cells with a pumice stone or emery board between tapings.
Over-the-counter products typically employ the above asphyxiation technique combined with chemical treatment, usually involving salicylic acid. These products are readily available at any drug store or supermarket. There are typically two types of products: adhesive pads treated with salicylic acid or a bottle of concentrated salicylic acid. In order to remove the wart, one must follow a strict regimen of cleaning the area, applying the salicylic acid, and clearing the dead skin. It may take up to 12 weeks to remove a stubborn wart.
The following household remedy is recommended for three consecutive days: put the wart cells in hot water with washing liquid. It is difficult to prove whether the warts disappear because of the household remedy or by an immune reaction.
A method used mostly by Asian countries, is to burn the wart with incense. However, it is very painful and may damage the skin permanently.
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