Let’s face it…
Warts are annoying.
Although warts are generally harmless, they can affect one’s quality of life by resulting moderate to extreme discomfort for 51.7% of patients, while 38.8% patients experienced their social or leisure activities were impacted, according to The National Center for Biotechnology Information.
For warts and HPV, prevention is surely better (and cheaper) than to cure. This is the golden rule.
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Before you move on to learn more on how to prevent warts and control warts spread, let’s recap…
…How Do You Get Warts?
Human papillomavirus HPV virus enters the body through a break in the skin, causes the top layer of skin to grow rapidly and forms a rough bump on the surface of the skin, resulting in a wart.
Warts come in varieties, with different wart types demonstrate varying symptoms and characteristics based on where the wart is located, as different low risk HPV virus tends to infect different part of the body.
Are Warts Hereditary?
No, warts are not genetic, as warts are skin infection caused by HPV.
However, in case of HPV during pregnancy, there is some low risk of HPV transmission to the baby and caused Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis (RRP) in which wart-like lesions (called Papilloma) grow inside a person’s airway, like throat. RRP is caused by HPV 6 and HPV 11, the same low risk HPV strains that cause 90% of genital warts.
Do Toads Give You Warts?
You may find your prince by kissing a frog in fairy tale.
But you will not get warts from contacting a toad or frog.
Remember what causes warts? HUMAN Papillomavirus, which has nothing to do with toads.
Click below to watch the video.
Are Warts Contagious? How do Warts Spread?
Just as HPV transmission routes as illustrated in the HPV Wart Wiki Guide, wart virus is highly contagious and can be easily spread by:
1. Transmitted to one’s self when direct contact with wart – by touching the wart and then another part of your body. Examples: scratching or shaving your own warts that can spread the infection to other areas of your body, and biting fingernails may cause periungual warts to spread on the fingertips and around nails.
2. Transmitted from one person to another through skin-to-skin contact. For instance, genital warts are passed on through sexual contact with a person who is infected.
3. Indirect contactor coming into contact with items that has been in contact with a wart, such as razor and towel. Supporting evidence from U.S. National Cancer Institute’ research shows HPV-16 still demonstrated 30% of infectivity after dehydrated on a surface for 7 days at room temperature.
How to Prevent Warts
Here are 13 actionable tips to prevent wart from growing and spreading, with the key is to avoid contact with HPV that causes wart.
1. Avoid contact, scratch, rub, or pick at the wart to prevent further self-infection, as the viral particles may be spread to another area of skin. Besides, scratching and picking a wart can open the skin surface, leading to bleeding and possibly infection. HPV may also spread by contacting with blood or skin shed from a wart.
2. Wash your hands with soap and water after touching a wart, and then dry the hands thoroughly with a clean towel or air dryer. Our hands are exposed to contacting HPV in activities like touching a doorknob or escalator handrail in public places, contacting gym equipment in public gym, and shake hands with others. So hand washing is an easy and effective precaution to fight against warts.
3. Cover warts with a bandage or athletic tape to prevent virus from spreading to uninfected areas, and avoid wart from scratching. If you have any cut or scratches on skin, it is also recommended to keep them covered until they heal, to help minimize the chance of HPV entering your skin and begin forming warts.
4. Avoid biting nails to reduce the chances of developing warts, especially Periungual warts. Biting nails or hangnails may cause tiny tears in the skin on fingertips, allowing HPV to infect the area and develop warts around the edge of the nail. In case you or your children face difficulty to stop nail biting habit, here are 10 helpful parenting tips and stop nail biting treatment plan for your reference.
5. Do not share personal care items like razors, towels, or nail clipper with another person to avoid HPV from spreading, with HPV can still spread even if there is no visible warts. Shaving over the area with wart for instance, could transfer the wart virus to the razor and then spread it to other areas of the body, or to another person if the razor is shared shortly after used by the infected party. If you have warts, ensure do not allow others to use your personal care items like razor and towel.
6. Keep your feet dry. When your feet sweat, the moisture can increase the risk of wart development. Apply foot powder or wear socks that absorb moisture if your feet sweat heavily, as warts are more difficult to control in a moist and warm environment. Change your socks daily to avoid damp feet, and allow your shoes to dry thoroughly between each wearing.
7. Wear footwear in public areas with moist walking surfaces frequented by many individuals, such as public showers and swimming pools area, especially if you have open cuts or blisters on your feet, to avoid exposure to (plantar) wart-causing virus that potentially spread by contact with an infected surface, according to the American College of Foot & Ankle Orthopedics & Medicine (ACFAOM). An observational study of 146 adolescents show the prevalence of warts on the feet was 27% in those who used a communal shower room. This is because such warm and moist environments are the preferred habitats for human papillomavirus.
8. Avoid irritating the soles of your feet, as warts grow more easily if your skin has been injured or broken in some way. For instance, wearing narrow high heel shoes that are too tight could cause the side or toes of foot to become irritated from friction created by constant rubbing against the shoe.
9. Boost your immune system to fight HPV and prevent (recurring) warts. As we all have different immune systems, someone with weakened immune system and low antibody level may develop warts when contacted with HPV, while others don’t. Keep your body immune system healthy by getting enough sleep, stop smoking, avoid alcohol, exercise regularly, be happy, drink plenty of water, and eat immunity boosting food like garlic, onion, spinach, mushroom, and berry. Research study also shows Japanese mushroom extract AHCC supplement can help fight HPV virus.
10. Use condom for intercourse. Latex condom reduce but do not eliminate the risk of HPV transmission that potentially causes genital wart, as condom may not cover all genital skin that is exposed during sexual contact, that HPV can live in genital areas not covered by a condom. Multiple sexual partners and anal intercourse are among the other risk factors for genital wart, with the only reliable method of prevention is sexual abstinence.
11. Avoid oral sex to prevent HPV virus transmission through mouth and develop oral warts in the mouth or throat of a person who has had oral sex with an infected person. In the case of engaging in oral sex, always use condom though it is not a guarantee that you will be fully protected. There is also much debate with arguments for and against HPV transmission by deep kissing, but without substantial evidences.
12. Do not share sex toys. Study from the Indiana University School of Medicine shows HPV was detected on vibrator just after use in women with vaginal HPV. Subsequently, the researchers still detected HPV on the sex toys immediately after cleaning and 24 hours after cleaning, which further demonstrates the risk for HPV transmission via shared sex toys use.
13. Take genital warts HPV vaccine. The Gardasil HPV vaccination, works best when given before first sexual contact and exposure to HPV, helps the body develop immunity against the HPV strains that cause genital warts and most cases of cervical cancer. For person that already have genital warts, HPV vaccine will not treat them despite the HPV shot may still protect against other HPV strains to which the person is not previously exposed. Read on for comprehensive review on HPV vaccination, including HPV vaccine side effects and controversy.
Cervarix vs Gardasil
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Cervarix and Gardasil as vaccines to protect against HPV types 16 and 18, the two high risk HPV strains that cause 70% of cervical cancers (and other less common cancers such as cancers of the anus, vagina, penis, and vulva). Gardasil is also approved as wart vaccine to prevent genital warts caused by HPV strains 6 and 11 in females and males.
Girls aged 9 or 11 and boys aged 11 or 12 years are recommended to get HPV vaccine, alongside female through age 26 and male through age 21 if they did not get the vaccine when they were younger. HPV vaccines are given as a series of three doses over 6 months period, while women are not advised to receive the HPV vaccine during pregnancy to avoid complications.
Protect against these HPV strains
HPV type 6, 11, 16, 18.
HPV type 16, 18.
0, 2 and 6 months.
0, 1 and 6 months, or as advised by your doctor.
Prevention of cervical cancer, vulvar cancer, vaginal cancer and genital warts.
Prevention of cervical cancer.
Gardasil HPV vaccine cost is normally around USD $120 – $160 per dose, and around USD $350 – $500 range to complete the three doses, with varying administration and service charges included. Not all insurance companies will cover the HPV vaccination cost though, so check with your health insurance provider to confirm.
Alternatively, free or subsidized HPV vaccination is provided by over 100 countries via the national immunization program respectively, despite some may offer free or subsidized HPV vaccination to females only with the primary objective of fighting against cervical cancers, with relatively much less emphasis on genital warts prevention.
Refer below links to additional resources:
Need Convincing with HPV Vaccine Statistics and Benefits?
Gardasil and Cervarix have gone through clinical trials that show efficacy before approved as effective and safe.HPV infections and genital warts reduction have been observed in countries that have introduced HPV vaccine in the national immunization program, such as:
- 56% drop in HPV infections in female since the HPV vaccine was introduced in the United States.
- Declining genital warts in young women in England, 13.3% among females aged 16-19 years with the greatest decline of 20.8% in 17-year-olds, is associated with HPV vaccination.
- Diagnoses of genital warts in Australia declined by 59% in vaccine eligible women aged 12-26 years and by 39% in heterosexual men, 2 years after HPV vaccination introduction.
- Genital warts rate in Sweden dropped by over 25 percent in women ages 17 and 18 years after national HPV vaccine program introduction, with significant decreases through age 25.
But, despite the known success of HPV vaccines, much debate are on-going on whether or not to promote or take the HPV jab – with Germany’s Robert Koch Institute questioned the effectiveness of HPV vaccines, France and India banned HPV vaccine advertisement due to false claims, and so on.
Click to watch this video “Should You Get the HPV Vaccine?“ by Dr. Mike Evans.
The Emotional HPV Vaccine Controversy
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) reported in July 2014 that HPV vaccine remains underutilized, with only a third of the girls aged 13-17 have been fully vaccinated with the series of all three doses, while only 35% of adolescent boys received at least one HPV shot.
So why are HPV vaccination rates so low?
- Some conservative group worry that HPV vaccination will encourage promiscuity and unprotected sex among young people.
In a related study published by American Academy of Pediatrics, however, shows that HPV vaccine “was not associated with increased sexual activity related outcome (pregnancy, testing or diagnosis of sexually transmitted infection, and contraceptive counseling)” after examining the medical records of 1398 girls aged 11 through 12 years, including 493 girls who received HPV vaccine and 905 who did not.
- Some parents reckon HPV vaccination for preteen is not really necessary as the risk to get HPV infection is minimal, with opinions like “why does my child need HPV vaccine if she/he is not sexually active” and “why HPV vaccination is necessary when condoms are used”.
- Nonetheless, condom do not fully eliminate the risk of HPV transmission as condom may not cover all genital skin that is exposed during sexual contact, while the U.S. CDC claims HPV vaccine produces a higher immune response in preteens than in older adolescents. Thus vaccine and condoms should go hand in hand to better protect against genital HPV infection.
- There has been much debate over HPV vaccination to boys, basing on the perception that the key threat of HPV is its ability to cause cervical cancer in female, and “why HPV vaccination is necessary when 90% of the HPV infection will go away without treatment”.
- However, males could spread the sexually transmitted virus to females who will later be at risk for cervical cancer and genital warts, while study shows that the HPV virus is also a leading cause of throat cancer which affects both sexes.
While the significance of controversy intensified when Rick Perry reversed his position by calling HPV vaccine mandate a ‘mistake’ during his GOP presidential bid, the undoubted biggest HPV vaccine controversy is on…
…the Life-Changing HPV Vaccine Side Effects
The common adverse reactions of Gardasil vaccine include minor pain, swelling, itching, and redness at the side of the injection, while the more severe common reactions include dizziness, fever, headaches, and nausea with feeling of wanting to vomit.
While U.S. FDA and many other experts claim the HPV vaccination’ benefits continue to outweigh its risks – what makes Japan’s Ministry of Health withdraw HPV vaccination recommendation, and US court pays $6 million to Gardasil victims?
The emerging cases that revealed severe and life-changing HPV vaccine side effects has become a major unwarranted safety concern for parents not having their children vaccinated, with especially the long-term protection and consequences have not truly been proven.
The reported severe side effects of HPV vaccination include breathing difficulty, numbness in body parts, back spasms, disability, death, and so on.
Refer below links to additional resources on HPV vaccine side effects for your reference, regardless if you are taking HPV vaccine to fight against cancer-causing high-risk HPV or low-risk HPV that cause genital warts:
- “Urgent warning about Gardasil” by Jenny Thompson, Director of the Health Science Institute.
- “HPV Vaccine Dangers” by WISH-TV.
Warts Prevention and How To Stop Them From Spreading
Follow these simple guidelines to reduce your risk of skin warts infection:
- Avoid contact, scratch, rub, or pick at the wart.
- Cover warts with a bandage or athletic tape.
- Don’t share personal care items like razors or towels.
- Avoid biting nails.
- Wash your hands with soap regularly.
- Keep your feet dry to avoid moisture.
- Wear footwear in public areas with moist walking surfaces.
- Don’t irritate the soles of your feet.
- Practice healthy living habits and eat immunity boosting food.
- Use condom for intercourse.
- Avoid oral sex.
- Do not share sex toys.
- Take genital warts HPV vaccine.
The old adage “prevention is better than cure” is surely true for warts, and HPV infections.
Put the abovementioned actionable wart prevention tips into practice, though the HPV vaccine controversy might give you some food for thought.
Statistically speaking, even with our best preventive efforts, we could still find wart growing anywhere on our body at some point in our lives. If this eventually happens, or is already happening to you as of this point –
Don’t feel depressed, as you are certainly not alone.
And there are solutions for warts.
Once a wart has developed, it is time to plan your counter-offense.
Strategize and launch your attack with this one-stop wart removal guide on how to get rid of warts.
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Have you learned a little something here on how to prevent warts?
Will you take HPV vaccine amid its side effects and controversy?
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