WARTS & ALL
They’re not the most pleasant things and most of us prefer not to discuss them, but warts and fungal infections are common conditions that are generally easily treated.
Warts are non-cancerous growths caused by a virus known as human papilloma virus (HPV). The virus enters your body through tiny cuts or breaks in your skin. You can get warts from direct skin-to-skin contact such as shaking hands with someone who has warts on their hand.
Warts can also be passed on via items that have been used by someone with a wart, such as a towel. Or you can get them indirectly from moist environments such as swimming pools or public showers and change rooms.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Many warts will usually clear up on their own within two years, without leaving a scar. But if they’re making you feel self-conscious or you have concerns, try the following:
Keep warts covered with an air and watertight dressing.
Use ointments and wart paints that contain salicylic acid or lactic acid, which work by peeling away the layers of infected skin. Follow the directions, and be patient – it may take several months to remove the entire wart.
Liquid nitrogen freezing is a common treatment but can be painful. Your doctor can do this, or you can buy a product from your pharmacy for home use.
Keep skin healthy and moisturised to reduce nicks and cuts.
If you are in any doubt about the appearance or feel of a wart, it’s important to consult your doctor.
FUNGAL SKIN AND NAIL CONDITIONS
Fungal infections are common and are usually caused by the growth of normally harmless strains of fungi found on the skin. Most symptoms are mild, but fungal infections can be contagious and infect others if they’re left untreated. Some common ones are:
Athlete’s foot: Symptoms include itching and flaking and cracked skin between toes. Feet develop an odour and infection can spread to the soles and toenails. Athlete’s foot is often picked up from walking barefoot on damp, contaminated floors in communal areas.
Fungal nail infections: These can occur on any part of your nail and take a long time to develop. The nail may thicken, distort, become crumbly and appear dull or yellowish in colour.
Tinea of the scalp: Red, round or oval patches develop, causing patches of hair loss and scaling. You may also develop pus-filled areas on your scalp. It can be caused by sharing a contaminated hat, brush or comb.
Ringworm: Pinkish-red ring-shaped skin patches, with slightly raised borders and clear areas in the centre. Ringworm can develop anywhere on the skin, spread rapidly to other parts of the body, and can be caught by coming into contact with somebody who already has ringworm or by touching contaminated items.
WHAT TO DO
There are several treatments available in the form of creams, lotions, paints, shampoos, powders and tablets. You will need to apply a treatment directly to the affected area of your skin.