Water warts are common in children, but adults can also get them. Water warts are mainly known from swimming: they are often transmitted via swimming bands. Water warts are contagious. How do you recognize water warts and how can you remove water warts?
What is a water wart?
And water wart looks like a normal wart but is a fluid-filled blister. It is caused by a virus from the pox virus family. This concerns the molluscum contagiosum virus. The infection is most common in children or young adults. Children between the ages of four and seven are often the biggest victims of the virus. This is mainly because these children often come into contact with toys and swimming pools during swimming lessons.
Water warts look like spherical warts, shiny, skin-colored and translucent or white. The warts often appear in groups in the crook of the elbow, the back of the knee, on the trunk or arms or legs. They can also appear on the face. Less commonly, they occur on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. The skin around the warts may look red and scaly. Sometimes the skin also itches. And water warts can become inflamed: the wart becomes thick and red and feels painful.
Are they contagious?
Water warts are highly contagious. Not only for the patient himself, but also for others. It is not without reason that children between the ages of four and seven become infected most often. The virus spreads through toys, clothes that people wear without washing, towels and swimming bands used in swimming pools. The warts are contagious the moment they open. The warts usually open when the patient scratches them open, but they can also open spontaneously. The content that is released is contaminated with the virus.
Contamination occurs via toys or towels and via the swimming pool (swimming bands). Skin-to-skin contact also causes contamination. In addition, infection can also occur through sexual intercourse. People who shave their pubic hair are also more likely to develop water warts. Shaving makes the skin vulnerable. More than 94 percent of patients with water warts around their genitals have shaved or waxed pubic hair.
Adult and child with water warts
Children are most likely to develop water warts, but adults can also contract them. An adult person often gets them from an infected child, but also through sexual intercourse. Adults in particular find water warts annoying when they are visible to others. Children don’t seem to mind it as much. When water warts are removed, this is usually done for cosmetic reasons, rarely because the warts cause complaints.
Inflamed and scratched water warts
Water warts that have been scratched open pose a high risk of infection. Scratching opens creates wounds into which bacteria can easily enter. When this happens, inflammation occurs. Scratched water warts must therefore be disinfected. Small water warts can be touched twice a day with betadine ointment or a betadine solution. Covering with a plaster prevents further spread of the virus. A group of scratched or inflamed warts can best be treated with betadine soap or scrub. This allows the affected skin to be washed. The area can then be covered with gauze.
Only in severe cases are water warts removed. The doctor can do this by dabbing with liquid nitrogen, spooning out the warts or by dabbing with a tincture containing vitamin A acid. Leave this treatment to your doctor and do not remove water warts yourself. The chance of infection is then high. It is important to know that water warts always disappear on their own, even without treatment. This may sometimes take some time, but the condition is harmless.
To prevent infection, it is important to pay close attention if one of the family members has water warts. Do not share washcloths and towels with this person. Avoid skin-to-skin contact when the warts are open. Always wash hands well when touching them. Clean toys thoroughly if an infected child has played with them. Preferably cover the water warts to prevent further spread. Children who scratch the warts carry the infection through their fingernails to other areas of the body or transmit the infection to other children. Washing your hands thoroughly is therefore recommended. A disinfectant soap is definitely recommended. Water warts are highly contagious but fortunately a harmless infection, unless they become inflamed.