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How long will they last
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How long will they last

I was diagnosed with common warts on my hands and on my feet more than six months ago.  There were a couple on my right toes and one large one on my right hand. I went to a doctor that burned them off (without telling me that there are other options), which left a terrible scar on my hand.  I visited another doctor who advised me to just use over the counter methods.  I have, but I continue to have many new warts (over 10 in the past 6 months).  They show up on my fingers and in a diagonal across my palm as well as on my toes.  

1) I would like to know if there are more aggressive treatments that will prevent new warts from developing.  After more than six months, I am out of patience and cannot hide this from my nosy coworkers for much longer.  

2) I would like to know if I should be worried about spread to my eyes or mouth.  I wear contact lenses on a daily basis and obviously use my fingers to put in the contact lenses.  I also rinse out my mouth after brushing with water cupped in my hands.  Previously, I posted a message, and you assured me that I did not need to worry about spread to other parts of the body (thank you!) but I'm not sure if there is an increased risk given my contact lenses and the warts on my palm. I was not worried about my mouth at all until I developed a blood blister on the inside of my cheek last night(I think I bit it), which popped today and left an openning.  

3) If I continue to use over the counter meds, how should I remove the dead skin?  My doctor told me to use a file, but I haven't been able to do that very much because of the shape of my palm and the awkward location of the warts on my toes.  Instead, I have been using a tissue to pull the dead skin off.  I'm guessing this is probably the wrong way to handle it.

4) Is it a problem to use a sponge in the shower to scrub my feet?

I prefer to get these answers from you because my doctor is very impatient and rarely lets me finish a question before she interrupts.  I constantly get the feeling that I'm screwing up her time schedule.  I don't like it, but she's the third dermatologist I've seen, and I think she's the most qualified even if she doesn't have the best "bedside" manner.  Thank you for your advice and help.
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If you wait them out, warts always go away.  You cannot spread warts by touching the eyes or other parts of the body (thank goodness.)

That's the good news.

If warts continue to apprear (as they often do), there's not much point in attacking them aggressively.  I recommend avoiding aggressive treatments in any case, because thye may leave scars (you know this), and smashing one wart to smithereens doesn't prevent a new one from appearing elsehwere.

Over-the-counter remedies containign salicylic acid (they all do) just irritate the wart and make it more annoying.  OK, but in my opionion rarely worth the effort.

What to do?  2 choices: 1) Get them frozen repeatedly at 3-week intervals with liquid nitrogen.  Uncomfortable and unsightly in healing, but little risk of scarring, and it usually gets the job done after an indeterminate number of sessions. 2) Live with them until your immune system turns on and boots them out.  (It will!)

Each method has drawbacks, but at least you won't suffer a lifetime of regret.  Time is on your side.

Best.

Dr. Rockoff
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