Schools Training

Warts and All

22 MAY 2013
Career Path : Medical Office Assistant

Contrary to common perception, touching a frog will not give you warts. Warts are viral infections of the skin, small harmless tumours caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). Typically they grow on hands but can appear on any skin surface; plantar warts usually grow on the soles of feet. Warts are common in children aged 12-16 although 30% of them vanish by themselves within six months. The virus enters the skin after direct contact with an infected person or from warm, moist environments, such as a locker room. Most warts do not need to be treated and will go away on their own as your immune system overcomes them within months or years. There are, however, many non-prescription and prescription medicines and no shortage of home remedies to consider.

Non-prescription and prescription cures
When treating warts, the intention is effective removal that produces no scarring and prevents reoccurrence or future spreading. Non-prescription medicines include salicylic acid, a topical treatment applied frequently which softens the wart-forming skin layers so they can be rubbed off. It is currently the most desirable treatment, based on effectiveness and safety, but may take weeks or months to work. Prior to recommending these products, pharmacists must determine whether self-treatment is appropriate. Patients with painful plantar warts, outbreaks in one body region, and warts on the face, fingernails, toenails or genitalia should be referred to a dermatologist for treatment. Others with diabetes and certain other conditions shouldn’t use these products.
There are other prescription medicines less commonly used, including retinoid cream that can be applied at home to disrupt the wart’s skin cell growth. Cantharidin and bichoracetic acid (BCA) are potent treatments requiring careful application from a doctor.

Interesting home remedies
Warts are known to be susceptible to home remedies easily found at any grocery store. Some people have reported that taping a small piece of banana skin overnight, fleshy side towards the wart, has left skin smooth and pain-free at no cost. Others have found success by applying bandages over a mix of olive oil and turmeric, but it is important to note that this is not safe for everyone, especially when taken in large doses in pill form. Other types of oils, applied frequently and liberally, have proven successful for some, while others have used the milky sap from fresh fig leaves. In the U.S. south, there used to be people who could “talk off” warts, gently massage and talk to them – medicine can be mysterious!
Before recommending products, professionals with pharmacy technician training should ensure self-treatment is appropriate. If the wart continues to worsen despite home therapy or changes shape or colour, call the doctor. Plantar warts often lie beneath the skin and will need medical intervention to penetrate. Even relatively harmless inconveniences like warts require due diligence upon the completion of pharmacy technician courses. For example, pharmacy workers were recently on high alert when a mix-up of two similarly named drugs led to a patient applying wart medicine as eye drops!

Visit Algonquin Careers Academy for more information about Medical Office Assistant Training.