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Warts: they’re common, stubborn and thought to be painful to treat – though painless wart removal is possible.
When you think of warts, you might think of traditional ways of getting rid of them – such as freezing. Freezing warts is a technique meant to kill the virus causing the warts, as well as the affected skin.
Wart freezing can cause aching, itching and stinging, and according to the Food and Drug Administration…fire??
“Some cryogenic wart removers…have caught fire during use at home, harming consumers or setting fire to items around the house,” said an FDA warning to consumers from January 2014.
Yes, vapors ignite, things catch fire, and it’s catching the attention of the FDA.
They say freeze off wart removers are highly flammable, and have caused singed hair, burns, blisters, skin redness – and the most alarming, in our opinion – nearby items catching on fire, even without an ignition source.
Low and behold, if you check out the instructions of many common freeze off wart removers, you’ll read “Extremely Flammable.” They should be kept away from extreme heat and flames.
But in 11 of 14 cases reported to the FDA where people have been burned or items caught on fire, NO ignition source was identified.
“This is extremely concerning, especially because people may not be aware that everyday household items like curling irons and straight irons can be hot enough to be an ignition source for these products,” says FDA nurse consultant Karen Nast, RN.
Freeze off wart removal, or cryotherapy, used to mean a trip to the doctor’s office. Liquid nitrogen would be applied to the area with a cotton swab, or sprayed on. Following treatment, the area blisters over, with the hope that the wart will fall off as the blister dries up.
WebMD notes wart freezing is painful, with most warts requiring 1-4 treatments and 1-3 weeks between each treatment. (http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/cryotherapy-for-warts)
In lieu of a trip to the doctor, freeze-off wart removers are widely available over the counter as well. They contain dimethyl ether and propane to treat warts by freezing them at a temperature of about -55°C.
“Don’t forget,” Dr. Antaya Richard, a professor of dermatology at the Yale University School of Medicine, shared with NPR in an email. “We use propane to fuel our backyard gas grills.”
FDA dermatologist Marham Luke, MD says some warts disappear on their own, and it’s best to consult your health professional before using cryogenic products in your home.
Surgery, liquid nitrogen and laser treatments are available.
Heck, some people swear by duct tape.
Salicylic acid can soften and loosen warts so they fall off.
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