Tips and Tricks in Adoption and Pediatrics

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Placebology for Warts

Warts seem to lend themselves to wackadoo mind-body interventions and other folk medicine approaches. They're a slow-growing viral infection that usually last until your immune system decides to fight them off. Thus anything that irritates the wart or activates your immune response seems to help. Here are some nifty but not-well-researched ideas for warts, short of freezing them off. Now, I do love my liquid nitrogen; it's fun to use and you can do some cool office tricks with it. But consider trying these first:

  • Trace an outline of the affected body part on paper very night, and let your child draw a big 'ol X over the wart area
  • Rub the wart with a cut potato, and bury the potato one foot deep at the stroke of sunset, or some such complicated ritual. Tom Sawyer used a "spunk-water stump" in the middle of the woods.
  • Go to a "witch doctor" and have a wart-begone spell done (this worked for my mom growing up in France), or just come up with your own incantation and do it every night.
  • Daily hot water soaks have had some claims of efficacy
  • Apply apple cider vinegar on a piece of cotton gauze under a bandaid each night
  • Or apply dandelion milk nightly, or banana peel, or garlic juice ... I could keep going here folks, and probably will. Feel free to add your own wart remedies in the comments. This page has quite a collection as well.
  • Finally, there's the infamous DUCT TAPE therapy. This one has a published study to support it, where 85% of warts resolved with duct tape, compared to 60% with freezing. Apply a piece of duct tape the size of the wart directly to the wart and remove it 6 days later. If it falls off, reapply a new piece. At 6 days, file the wart with an emery board or pumice stone after soaking it in water. Leave the wart uncovered to air overnight. Repeat the 6-day cycle in the morning, for up to 2 months total.
In general, if you're treating the warts topically (duct tape, salicylic acid paints and plasters, etc), you want to keep them filed (emery board) or shaved/clipped down to the fresh wart skin, so get rid of the dead skin regularly. Soaking first can help, so why not try that "hot water therapy" while you're at it. Have fun!