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A Hidden Gem

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The subjectof warts and verrucas is one that would normally make a conversation stopinstantly and cause your friend to walk away and not send you any Facebookmessages for several days. However, as pharmacists we are not allowed togrimace at the thought of crusty, puckered growths that are sprouting andspreading on our customer’s hands and feet. It is our duty to advise them on thebest treatment possible.  

               Warts are caused by the HumanPapilloma Virus (HPV) which is also known for being a key cause of cervicalcancer. The fact that it is a VIRUS that causes warts means that they are extremelytricky to get rid of and can leave sufferers very frustrated. Verrucas aresimply a kind of wart known as plantar warts, there are many different kinds ofwarts that can appear on hands, feet, eyelids, genitals and they must be treateddifferently. I am focusing on warts that appear on hands and feet, they arevery contagious and if you are not careful to treat them quick, they can startto spread. They have a ‘cauliflower’ look to them, usually white and some have smallblack dots present.

               The most obvious treatment forthese is salicylic acid which is very efficient at painlessly removing layersof skin. Bazuka is the most well-known brand for this and there are also freezetreatments available. But what if these things just don’t work? Have you everhad someone at your pharmacy pulling out their hair in despair about thesepesky, ugly warts that will simply not leave? The advice given to most peopleis, ‘never mind, they often go away all by themselves after awhile.’ Which I think is maddening advice! I have read stories on the internet ofsome desperate wart-removal attempts. This includes concocting folk remedies,sticking duct tape onto the warts and ripping it off, even more terrifying,people that were so fed up actually tried to cut their bothersome warts offwith scissors! Which would actually make things worse since it would cause thevirus to spread.

               There is something else that canbe used to treat warts that isn’t advertised very well at all even though itcan be successful. Glutarol is the brand name and it contains the ingredientglutaraldehyde that is predominantly used in biological laboratories asdisinfectant and a fixative. Glutarol comes in a small bottle and can beapplied to the wart area, it is often referred to as a ‘wart paint’. The areashould also be treated with a pumice or emery board to slowly wear down thewarts. It is a slow treatment but after a few months of careful treatment (mustbe applied twice day and night without fail) it can remove warts for goodwithout damaging healthy skin. Ifanyone does come into your pharmacy at their wits end about their stubbornwarts then this is something that is definitely worth recommending.

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