ZocdocAnswersAre warts contagious?

Question

Are warts contagious?

I think I have a wart on my hand. Its on my ring finger, on the knuckle. Its a little white bump. Do I have to have it removed? If I don't do anything, will it spread to other parts of my body or my girlfriend if she touches it?

Answer

Warts are caused by infection of the skin by a virus called the human papilloma virus. It does sound a lot like what you have is a wart, although your doctor could confirm that for you by taking a look at it. Warts are spread when the virus is shed directly to the wart and then passed along to other surfaces that you come in contact with. This means, in theory, that you could spread your wart to other parts of your body or to another person through touch. In reality however it is unclear how much this actually happens. Among children, touch is probably an important method of transmitting warts, but adults tend to be more likely to keep their hands washed, etc so it may be different. At a bare minimum, you should try to keep your hands clean and wash them frequently. Picking at your skin or biting your nails are factors that may contribute to spreading warts. If the wart persists or spreads you may want to see your primary care doctor. Warts can be treated by your doctor as well, either by freezing or by applying one of several irritating chemicals to help them fall off.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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