Warts contagious

Are warts contagious?

Each person's immune system responds differently to HPV. Not everyone who comes in contact with it develops warts. Even people within the same family react to the virus differently. The HPV strains that cause plantar warts aren't highly contagious. So the virus isn't easily transmitted by direct contact from one person to another. But it thrives in warm, moist environments. Warts and verrucas are usually caused by direct skin contact or contact with surfaces contaminated with the human papilloma virus (HPV).

Warts are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). This causes an excess of a substance called keratin to develop in the top layer of your skin, resulting in a hard, rough lump. Warts don't spread easily, but they can be passed on from person to person through close skin contact or contact with contaminated objects or surfaces, such as: towels, shaving gear, nail files or pumice stones, shoes and socks, areas around swimming pools, floors of communal changing areas etc. Once towels and other gear, that came in contact with a wart, is washed with soap and rinsed, these objects are no longer able to contaminate others with the wart virus.

It's difficult to prevent warts and verrucas completely. But you're more likely to get infected if your skin is wet or damaged. After becoming infected, it can take weeks or even months for a wart or verruca to appear. Preventing warts and verrucas is easy but anyone will come in contact with the wart-virus HPV in some point of their live. Remember – there’s no reason why you can’t continue to take part in activities, such as sports or swimming, if you have a wart or verruca. It's a good idea to cover your wart with a plaster. If you go barefoot in communal areas, you may want to wear a verruca sock.


Are verrucas contagious?

Verrucas are caused by an infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV) in the outer layer of skin on the soles of your feet.

More than 100 strains of HPV exist, but only a few cause warts on your feet. Other types of HPV are more likely to cause warts on other areas of your skin or on mucous membranes. Each person's immune system responds differently to HPV. Not everyone who comes in contact with it develops warts. Even people in the same family react to the virus differently.

The HPV strains that cause plantar warts aren't highly contagious. So the virus isn't easily transmitted by direct contact from one person to another. But it thrives in warm, moist environments. Consequently, you may contract the virus by walking barefoot around swimming pools, communal showers or locker rooms. If the virus spreads from the first site of infection, more warts may appear.

The virus needs to have a point of entry into the skin of the foot:

  • Cracks in dry skin
  • Cuts or scrapes
  • Wet, softened, fragile skin from being in the water a long time

Wart virus

The wart-causing virus can be passed on by close skin-to-skin contact, as well as through contact with towels, socks or shoes. A person whose skin is damaged, wet, or comes into contact with rough surfaces is more likely to catch the infection. For example, a person with scratches or cuts on the soles of their feet is more likely to catch verrucas in and around public swimming pools. It’s hard to completely avoid coming into contact with the wart-causing virus HPV. Taking the following precautions can help prevent warts and verrucas:

  • Wear flip-flops in communal showers.
  • Cover your wart or verruca with a waterproof plaster when you go swimming.
  • Avoid touching other peoples warts, as well as sharing towels, socks or shoes.
  • Don't share your towels, shoes or socks.
  • Don't scratch or pick your wart or verruca as it’s more likely to spread.
  • If you use nail files or pumice stones on your wart or verruca don’t use these on other areas of your skin.
  • Prevent shaving over warts on your your face, legs or other parts of the body. This can make the wart-causing virus to spread.
  • Prevent scratches or bites in a wart.
  • Avoid biting fingernails.

 

As we all have different immune systems some of us may develop warts when we come into contact with HPV, while others don't. The risk of catching warts from another person is fairly small, but it exists. Genital warts are much more contagious.