Water warts are shiny, transparent, spherical, red spots. It’s good to be aware of them, as they are contagious. The moisture in the water warts is particularly contagious, as it contains the virus which causes the warts. They can also spread all over the body and occur in groups. Children are most often affected by them, but adults can get them too. A compromised immune system is the main cause of this, because adults will generally hardly be susceptible to the virus. The virus is also transmissible through sexual contact. In some cases, you or your child may also suffer from eczema. The reason for this is unknown. You will usually become infected with the virus through skin contact with people who have water warts, or by reusing objects which have been used by these people. There may also be flaky skin under your nails if you scratch the warts. This can then easily be transferred to other people. The incubation period for water warts is 2 weeks to 6 months. It can therefore take a while before the water warts become visible. However, you really don’t need to worry, as water warts are not serious and will disappear on their own. It can take a year to two years for the water warts to disappear.
Although water warts are harmless, they can still cause some unpleasant symptoms. For example, you or your child may suffer from:
- An infection as a result of frequent scratching. For example, you or your child can also end up with an infected eye if the water warts are around the eyes.
- Yellow fluid which drains from the warts.
- Scabs when the warts have dried up.
We recommend you do the following in case of water warts:
- Don’t scratch the water warts or stop your child from scratching the warts. This will allow the virus to spread easily and quickly. It can also cause unpleasant side effects, like pain and infections.
- Trim your or your child’s nails short.
- Regularly wash your hands or your child’s hands.
- Don’t rub your eyes or protect your child from doing so.
- Make sure everyone in your household uses their own towel. Don’t let others use your belongings if you suffer from water warts.
- Dry the body parts with water warts last after showering. This will prevent any further spread.
- Effectively cover up the open water warts. This is best done with a waterproof plaster.
- Don’t shower for too long or with water that’s too hot.
- Use an unscented shampoo, lotion, or soap.
- Prevent your skin or your child’s skin from drying out. You can use an unscented skin cream for this and this is available from the chemist or pharmacy.
- Use eczema ointment if you or your child suffer from eczema. Ask your pharmacist or chemist to advise you on the right medication. We recommend that you contact your GP in case of severe eczema.
- Apply udder cream or menthol gel to the water warts to relieve the itching. Both products are available from the chemist or pharmacy.
In most cases you won’t need to contact your GP. However, we do recommend you contact your GP in the following situations:
- You or your child has a red or infected eye. Your GP will treat the warts on the eyelids or recommend something else to reduce the infection.
- You or your child has an eczema spot in which the water warts are increasing. Your GP will probably prescribe something for the eczema.