What are warts?

Warts are caused by a viral infection in the top layer of the skin.  


Why do some people get warts and others don’t?

Some people get warts depending on how often they are exposed to the virus.  Wart viruses occur more easily if the skin has been damaged in some way, which explains the high frequency of warts in children who bite their nails or pick at hangnails.  Some people are just more likely to catch the wart virus than others, just as some people catch colds very easily.  Patients with a weakened immune system also are more prone to a wart virus infection.


Do warts need to be treated?

In children, warts can disappear without treatment over a period of several months to years.  However, warts that are bothersome, painful, or rapidly multiplying should be treated.  Warts in adults often do not disappear as easily or as quickly as they do in children.

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