WARTS & ALL

Good Health (Australia) - - Be Informed -

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

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.

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