Warts refer to hard, dry growths in the skin. They are capable of spreading, but are usually harmless. They often disappear spontaneously. These small benign tumours of the skin are most common in childhood, but after infancy.
Warts come in various shapes and sizes. Common warts are raised cauliflower loke lesions which occur most frequently on the hands. They may be scattered or grouped. These warts in children usually resolve spontaneously eventually. Some warts are thread- like and others flat.
Warts usually appear as rough elevations in the skin. These elevations occur more frequently on the fingers, elbows, knees, face and scalp. They usually appear as small raised painless lesion with a rough dry surface. Where there is pressure as on the soles of the feet, they may be hardly raised, but tend to be painful. They flourish in most areas of the body.
When warts occur on the feet they are known as verrucae. They are particularly catching. They are most easily spread in swimming baths and bathrooms because the moist, warm atmosphere at these places is just right for this infection to be passed on from child to child. Some swimming baths hold foot inspections and will not allow in any child with a verrucae. Other insist that special ‘verrucae-socks’ are worn if a verrcae is present.
Warts are mainly caused by virus infection. Viruses usually penetrate the skin via small abrasions. Warts are unpredictably contagious and the child-patient may infect himself in different places. Thus for instance, he may get wart on the lips, if he sucks a wart on the finger. Infection can also spread from one member of family to other members. Constitutional factors alsoi appear to be at the root of the trouble. These factors lead to some defects in the proper development of the skin surface in certain areas.
It is important to treat a simple wart as soon as it appears, otherwise it may spread . Dietary measures can be helpful in treating this condition. To begin with, the child -patient should be kept on an all-fruit diet for about two or three days. During this period, he should take fresh juicy fruits such as grapes, orange, apple , pineapple, mango, pear and papaya. Warm-water enema should be taken to cleanse the bowels during this period and afterwards, if necessary.
After the all-fruit diet, the child may be allowed to embark upon a well-balanced diet, according to his age. The emphasis should be on whole grain cereals, fresh fruits and raw or lightly-cooked vegetables. Further short periods of two or three days on an exclusive diet of fresh fruits at monthly intervals may be necessary until the skin condition improves.
The patient should avoid tea, coffee, white flour, sugar and all products made from them. He should also avoid all refined foods, tinned and frozen foods, as well as spices, condiments and pickles.
Certain home remedies have been found beneficial in the treatment of warts. The most important of these is the use of castor oil ( arandi). This should be applied generously over the affected parts every night. The treatment should be continued for several months.
Milky juice of figs (anjeer) is another valuable remedy. This juice should be extracted from the fresh, barley ripe fruits and applied on warts several times a day. The treatment should be continued for two weeks.
Raw potatoes (alu) have been found beneficial in the treatment of warts. The potatoes should be cut and rubbed on the affected area several times daily. This should be continued for atleast two weeks. It will bring good results.
Onions (piyaz) are also valuable in warts. They are irritating to the skin and they stimulate the circulation of the blood. Warts sometimes disappear when rubbed with cut onions.
The herb merigold (saldbarh) has also been found beneficial in the treatment of warts. The juice of the leaves of this plant can be applied over warts with good results. The sap from the stem has also effective use in the removal of warts.
The oil extracted from the shell of the cashewnut (kaju), being acrid, vesicant and rubefacient, has also proved useful in treating warts. It should be applied externally over the affected area.