Are warts contagious?
Warts and verrucas – small, raised areas of skin that are usually rough to the touch – are very common, especially among children. But are warts contagious? The short answer is yes; warts can be transmitted both through direct and indirect contact. Finding the source of infection is usually difficult, since the viruses that cause warts are ubiquitous and it can take anywhere from two to six months before you start experiencing any wart symptoms.
There are two main ways to become infected with warts:
- Direct contact. Warts can spread from one person to another through skin-to-skin contact, for example through a handshake. It is also common for warts to spread to different areas of your own body. This can happen if you pick on a wart and then touch a skin area that has lesions in it.
- Indirect contact. Any object that has been in contact with a wart can potentially transmit the infection. Sharing personal items such as towels and shoes, as well as walking barefoot on floors of public changing rooms and in swimming pool areas can cause warts to spread.