Are Warts Contagious?

Are Warts Contagious

Warts are noncancerous and hard lumps, which are formed on the skin surface. The top level of the skin is infected due to warts. Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is responsible for causing warts in humans. There are different kinds of warts from which human beings are affected. Some of the most common kinds include:

  • Plantar warts
  • Common warts
  • Flat warts
  • Filiform warts
  • Genital warts

Warts are mainly seen to appear on hands, fingers and feet. Filiform warts are also seen to appear on the face of a person. Commonly, warts are absolutely harmless and not even painful. However, when the warts appear below the feet or at some odd place in the hand, it might lead to discomfort.

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Are warts contagious? – A question which has been asked often

It is quite interesting to see the different opinions which come up when it comes to establishing the fact whether warts are contagious or not. Though all the varieties of viruses are not contagious, majority of them are.

The Human Papillomavirus, which causes warts, can pass from one person to another. It can also get transferred from one surface to some person. Many people have said that warts tend to spread from one body part to another.

One of the most common ways in which warts can spread is from one person to another. It is not necessary that if you touch the wart of one person, you might be infected by the same. However, it might happen that the virus gets transmitted in some manner. It basically depends on the immune system of the person as how it reacts to HPV. While some people might catch the infection, others might not.

The strains of the Human Papillomavirus, which actually cause warts in most people, are very common. It is needless to say that almost every person is exposed to such viruses at some point of time in their life. Still some people never suffer from these issues as their immunity system protects them. The time taken for wart development also varies from one individual to another.

Chances that warts will spread are high when there is cut or scratch in the area, which touches the other person’s warts. This is the reason it has been seen that warts are very common in children as they are prone to injuries, cuts and bruises.

Genital warts are also caused by some kind of HPV. These warts usually spread through sexual contact and via no other means. Genital warts can be transmitted through skin to skin sexual contact. It can happen through vaginal, anal and oral sex with the person who is infected. One relieving news is that there is an available vaccine against some strains of HPV, which cause some kinds of genital warts. However, no such vaccine is there for non-genital warts.

How do warts spread from one part of the body to another?

Warts can easily spread from one part of the body to another just like it spreads from one person to another. It might happen that you scratch, touch or pick at a wart on the body and touch any other body part with the same finger. There are high chances of transmitting the HPV to the other body part. Shaving is also a common way of spreading warts as there are chances of scraping or leaving open skin.

How warts spread from surface to an individual?

There are chances of getting warts if you touch a surface which the active wart-infected person has already touched. Sharing personal items like razors or towels also increase the chances of infections. Disinfectants are not very effective in dealing with the Human Papillomavirus. HPV is more commonly present in wet surfaces, like shared showers, shared towels, pool areas etc.

Plantar warts which appear below the feet can be easily transmitted if you walk barefoot in the place, where a plantar wart infected person has walked.

Some preventive measures to stop spreading of warts

Many people are highly susceptible to warts. For them offering full protection from HPV is practically not possible. However, there are some common ways in which spread of warts can be prevented.

To prevent warts from spreading from one body part to another

  • Keep the warts dry
  • If possible keep the warts covered
  • Refrain from picking at or scratching the warts
  • Avoid warts while shaving

To prevent warts from person-to-person spreading

  • Make sure that your hands are cleaned regularly
  • Refrain from touching other people’s warts
  • In case of cuts and bruises, disinfect them and keep them dry and clean

To prevent surface to person spread of warts

  • Try wearing shoes or any kind of footwear in public places likes gym locker rooms, pools and showers
  • Refrain from sharing personal items like towels and razors etc.


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