Getting your hands dirty

I’ve got dirt under my fingernails from pulling weeds.  If you don’t keep after them they try to take over.  Some weeds are easy to get rid of.  A little Weed and Feed and they die off. Some others are incredibly persistent. If I spot some Dollar Weed I go right to DEFCON 1 and blast it with weed killer and dig up the roots.  That is the only way to get rid of it.

If you see some warts on your kid today think about me and my weeds.  Warts are similar to weeds with one major difference. Humans have an immune system to help fight them (more on this later).

So if you see a wart go out and buy some Compound W, Dr Scholl’s or other similar brand.  All of these products contain salicylic acid.  It can be in a thick liquid or in a sticky pad.  You apply it to the wart once a day and cover it with some duct tape or band-aid.  Be persistent! This will take some time.

It does not pay to be overly aggressive. For example I can freeze the warts for you at my office.  Alert. Small children do not enjoy painful experiences.  I still remember my family doctor burning a wart off of my thumb 45 years ago.  The freezing will usually work, but sometimes the wart will return in a few weeks.  Sometimes I freeze one wart and 2 come back! There are other painful destructive methods to treat warts such as Cantharidin (beetle juice) or even surgery.  As I said small children are usually not happy about these methods.

Which brings me back to the immune system.  Warts are an infection caused by the Human Papillomavirus or HPV. Given some time the human body will usually eliminate the virus without any intervention from us.  However I do believe it is smart to keep irritating and annoying the weeds (I mean warts) with the Compound W (salicyclic acid).  Don’t stop harassing them because they can spread and take over. Keep giving them a haircut!

Importantly,  by irritating the warts you activate and stimulate the immune system so that it will start attacking them. It may take a year or longer for warts to finally disappear.

Next blog: Molluscum Contagiosum