Warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), of which there are more than 100 different types. The disease occurs mainly in children with 33% of children and adolescents having warts, while this rate in adults is only 3% - 5%. Hand warts are found on fingers and palms. So what are the causes, signs, treatment and prevention of hand warts ?
What are hand warts?
Hand warts are skin infections caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). Warts form small bumps on the skin that feel dry to the touch. Fortunately, this is not a dangerous disease. There is currently no cure for HPV, but most people get rid of warts on their own within two to three years.
Causes of warts on hands
The HPV virus enters through a small scratch on the hand or finger, causing an overgrowth of cells. At this point, the outer layer of skin becomes thick and hard, eventually forming a wart.
Warts are easily spread from one part of the body to another. In addition, living or sharing personal items with a person with warts also carries a risk of infection.
Warts on the hands are more likely to appear in people who have a weak immune system, are malnourished or have infectious diseases, blood cancers, etc.
Signs to recognize warts on hands
Depending on the location of the raised warts on the hand , there are separate identification points. Common signs of hand warts:
1. Common Warts
Common warts have a rough, rough appearance, rounded apex, and are grayer than the surrounding skin. They appear on the back of the finger, about 1mm to 1cm in size or larger and grow singly or in groups.
These warts are painless and may go away on their own, but they have the potential to spread to other areas through direct contact. Sometimes common warts have clotted blood vessels that look like small black spots.
2. Flat warts
Flat warts, which usually grow on the arms, thighs, or face, are caused by HPV types 3, 10, and 28. They appear in places where there are scratches on the arms and are pink, brown, or yellowish. Flat warts are painless, often clustered, and appear round or oval in the skin. This type of acne is common in children and is spread by direct contact.
3. Warts around the nail
The warts around the nail are as small as the tip of a needle and then grow larger. They tend to grow in clusters and spread. Common in people who have a habit of biting their nails.
They appear around the nail and can grow deep under the nail bed causing a fungal infection and permanent damage. Periungual warts need to be treated to remove them to avoid affecting nail growth.
Are hand warts dangerous?
Are not! Warts on the hands are a skin disease that only causes pain, discomfort, does not affect health and can disappear after 2-3 years. Hand warts are often difficult to detect, only when they are clearly visible. In addition, acne that grows on the hands is easy to spread throughout the body and to other people by contact.
Warts on the hands cause obstacles in the process of living, working and unsightly hands. Therefore, patients should treat warts on the hands quickly to prevent the disease from getting worse. In addition, the sick person avoids infecting other parts of the body or people around.
Do finger warts fall off on their own?
Have! When the virus that causes warts on the hands attacks, the body builds up resistance against the warts. It usually takes several months or at least 2 years for hand warts to disappear. In adults, hand warts last longer, several years or more. In some people, warts fall off on their own.
Who is at risk for hand warts?
Everyone's immune system is different, and not everyone gets HPV and develops warts. But the following people are at high risk of developing hand warts:
Warts on the hands are common in children because this age is often hyperactive, making the skin vulnerable. In addition, children are not self-aware of personal hygiene, so the rate of warts on their hands is very high.
After children, adolescents have a high incidence of acne on the hands due to the immature immune system to fight HPV.
Risk factors that increase the chance of warts growing on the hands
Hand warts are common in children and adolescents, but can occur at any age, through the following situations:
1. Skin damage
HPV virus enters the body when the hand is scratched or cut. Here, the humid environment creates an opportunity for them to grow and form warts. Therefore, people who frequently bite or pick their nails increase the risk of infection, making it easier for the HPV virus to attack.
2. Direct contact
When your hands touch an area of the body with warts, the risk of spreading is very high. In addition, people who often share personal items such as towels, clothes, and nail clippers with people with warts are very contagious.
3. Weakened immune system
People with weak resistance, HIV/AIDS infection, diabetes, eczema , etc. are at risk of getting warts on hands and other parts of the body. Due to the weakened immune system, it is difficult to fight the invasion of HPV virus and develop warts.
When to see a doctor?
Warts on the hands usually do not cause adverse symptoms to the body. But in some cases, patients should see a doctor for examination and treatment. Hand wart conditions that should be seen by a doctor include:
- Warts on hands cause pain and pain
- The color of the wart changes from the original when it appeared
- Warts on hands that bleed, pus, or crust
- People with diabetes, HIV, etc. have warts on their hands
- Warts appear on the hands and then spread to other parts of the body such as genitals, mouth, nostrils.
How are finger warts diagnosed?
Doctors diagnose hand warts with the following methods:
1. Clinical examination
The dermatologist will first look at the lesions caused by the warts on the hands. Then, the doctor will scrape the top layer of the wart to identify common signs such as: small, dark dots, clotted blood vessels.
Remove a small portion of a hand wart from the body and have it tested. This, in turn, helps patients determine if they have other serious illnesses.
How to treat warts on hands
Patients, do not need to worry too much about warts on the hands because now there are many treatment methods. The following are common, common hand warts treatments:
1. Treatment at home
Many people with warts often self-treat at home with garlic, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, duct tape... which is very dangerous and can make the disease worse. Although treating warts at home requires scientifically proven remedies.
1.1 Medicines containing salicylic acid
Medicines containing salicylic acid help penetrate deep into the wart to eliminate the HPV virus. To be effective, first remove the dead skin with a nail file or pumice stone. Then apply the medication directly to the wart, as directed by your doctor or the directions on the package. It takes a few weeks for the warts on the hands to fall off on their own. Discontinue use if medication causes irritation, swelling, or pain.
Medicines containing salicylic acid are prepared into preparations such as: liquid, gel, patch. Before treatment, patients should ask their doctor about the appropriate concentration of salicylic acid to use for them.
1.2 Topical imiquimod
Imiquimod when treating warts on the right hand is prescribed by a specialist. Topical imiquimod helps the warts on the hands fall off, but can cause pain and redness when treated. This drug combined with the cold spray method will bring better results.
1.3 Podofilox ointment
Like the topical imiquimod, podofilox helps the wart to fall off on its own. But in the area of the skin applied, the patient will feel a burning sensation and slightly itchy.
1.4 5-fluorouracil topical
This medication is commonly used to treat warts on the hands of children. Topical 5-fluorouracil should not be used without a doctor's prescription.
2. Hospital treatment
Laser therapy uses wavelengths of light to shine directly on the skin, helping to destroy wart cells. In particular, there are 2 main laser methods:
2.2 Pulsed Dye Laser
Using light with a wavelength of 582nm, breaks the blood vessels inside the wart on the hand. The advantage is that it is highly effective and does not leave scars. This method does not require sedation or anesthesia for the patient.
2.3 Carbon dioxide (CO2) laser
The lasers vaporize and destroy the wart tissue. Before shining a laser on a hand wart, a local anesthetic is needed to relieve pain. This method, does not leave wide scars if the doctor is skilled.
2.4 Cooling method
The freezing method freezes the warts on your hands and causes them to fall off on their own. There are 2 main cryotherapy treatments:
2.5 Cold spray
Cold spray method uses a mixture of dimethyl ether and propane (DMEP), usually applied to treat warts on the palms of the hands and feet. The drug is sold over-the-counter, so read the instructions carefully before using it.
The downside of this method is that the large moist sponge is not suitable for small warts. Patients need to use a moderate dose to avoid spreading to normal skin, because the drug is easy to cause blistering.
2.6 Liquid nitrogen
Liquid nitrogen therapy is divided into several courses of treatment, spaced up to 1-2 weeks apart and until complete recovery. Nitrogen gas is lowered to a temperature of - 196 degrees Celsius, which freezes the warts and causes them to fall off. Cons can leave scars and change skin pigmentation.
2.7 Electric burning
Interstitial fingers are often difficult to minor surgery or warts on the hand less than 1cm often use electrocautery. Using high-frequency current helps to remove warts on the hands quickly, simply and at low cost. But wound care must be careful to avoid infection and take longer to heal than other methods.
2.8 Minor surgery
The method of minor surgical excision is usually applied to warts on the hand with a diameter of more than 2cm, growing in a flat position. Advantages are faster than electrocautery, easier wound care and less infection. However, warts on the hands are easy to recur because the nucleus cannot be removed and can leave scars.
Ways to prevent warts on hands
The right hand to hold, hold, and perform many other daily activities makes it susceptible to the virus that causes warts . Therefore, it is necessary to take precautions to help protect the hands. Preventive measures, including:
- Clean hands
- Cover the wound when cut or scratched
- Wear shoes or slippers in public bathrooms or swimming pools
- Do not touch warts on others and yourself
- Do not pick or bite your nails because warts are easy to form around the nails
- Follow the doctor's advice after treatment
- Get vaccinated against HPV
Specializing in Dermatology - Aesthetic Skin, Tam Anh General Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City has services to treat and improve skin problems. With modern equipment, along with a team of experienced doctors and medical staff, Tam Anh General Hospital always provides modern, safe and effective skin care services.
Warts on the hands usually do not affect health, so patients do not need to worry too much. But when experiencing pain, soreness, bleeding or risk of infection, patients need to quickly go to a hospital with a specialist in Dermatology - Aesthetic Skin for timely diagnosis and treatment.