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Spread of Common Warts
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Spread of Common Warts

I'm very concerned about the spread of common warts, which I have been diagnosed with.  I started with two on the bottom of one foot and one on my hand.  After being misdiagnoised, the number increased on my foot, but no others have appeared for the past 3 months. Now I have some bumps under my scalp and I'm afraid that they are warts.  I also have a couple bumps on my face, but I have so much acne that I can't tell if they are warts too or if they are just irritated acne that will go away.  How can I tell if they are warts?  How are warts spread to parts of the body other than hands and feet? Can I infect my co-workers and family? I would like as much information as possible, but my doctors have not been helpful.  Thanks.
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Despite their reputation, warts most often do not behave in a contagious fashion.  It is true that viruses cause them, but people with warts on the foot do not generally get them on the hands and face, although most people wash daily and touch different body parts.  The fact that you have them on hands and feet is an unimportant coincidence.  This is counterintuitive (not what you'd expect); nevertheless, it's true.

Some warts multiply, while others stay just as they are.  This has more to do with the particular viral strain than with whether they were touched or treated.

If you leave warts alone, they will eventually go away.

I very much doubt that the bumps you have on your scalp and face are warts.  To be certain, you will need to show them to a doctor.

As to whether to treat your hand and foot warts, that's up to you.  It may take a few sessions of freezing or burning, or else you can wait them out.  What you don't have to do is be afraid to touch the rest of your body for fear of spreading them.

Best.

Dr. Rockoff
4 Comments
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I actually had never had warts my entire life up until a few years ago when I got one from my roommate who had one on her foot. I'm pretty sure I got it from the bath tub or something because I ended up with one on my foot as well. I got it treated and it went away. Then for a while I didn't think much of it but later on I got some other tiny ones on my feet a couple on my face, and one on my lip. At first I thought the ones on my face were a pimple or flesh colored moles but then it one of the two just grew bigger and the one on my lip appeared as a small white spot and finally I went to the dermatologist. He just told me they were warts and that they were contagious and treated them. Now I still have the tiny ones on my feet even though I've tried endlessly to get rid of them. It's really and scary to me because it seems like I have no immunity to these things or something. I'm really careful, constantly wash my hands and have been taking vitamins to increase my immune system but nothing seems to work. If it's so difficult to pass them to other parts of the body how is it that I seem to have gotten all of mine from one on my foot? Is there anything else I can do?
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I went to a dermatologist, and she diagnosed the bumps on my scalp as acne.  From what I understand, warts are hard to spread, but they are a virus that can spread if they get into a cut or pushed under the skin.  It makes me very wary of health spas and the like because they can give you a wart just by giving you a pedicure with a tool that was improperly cleaned.  

I still have one wart on my toe that will not go away with the OTC stuff, but I'm going to keep working on it.  Once you have had the virus, apparently you are more susceptible to catching it again, so I guess all you can do is be careful.

Thanks Doc for your great advice.  It kept me calm until I could go have a doctor look at the problem in person.
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Avatar_n_tn
When i was pregnant at seven months, i noticed some dark spots on my chin and lip. i thought they were some pregnancy related skin issue. i had the baby four months ago and went to a dermatoligist.he said they are warts.but i have been kissing my infant all over and also had contact with my husband! the doctor did not mention they were contagious until i read about it online.is my baby gonna get warts? im so scared and im treating them with occlusal .its been two weeks and they are so red and sore from acid i dont know if they went away. please help me.i care more about if i already gave it to my child and husband? will these warts spread on my hands?what about the makeup i use?
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