Warts products of a certain type can catch fire, according to the latest warning issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday. Over a dozen users have reported fires, and incidents have ranged from “singed hair, blisters, burns or skin rashes,” according to Karen Nast, an FDA nurse consultant.
While the labels on the warts removal products do state that they must be kept away from flammable or heat sources, in a large number of incidents, no heat sources were reported. The FDA also declined to list any brands linked to the incidents.
The warts products that can potentially catch fire are the cryogenic wart removers containing a mixture of liquid dimethyl ether and propane. In most of the cases reported to the FDA, the fires occurred when the mixture was being released from the nozzle after being pressed down, releasing the mixture to saturate an applicator. The application using the solution requires repeated use depending on location of the wart, and how thick the skin is in the infected area.
According to Stephen Stone, a dermatology professor at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, people have to use common sense when it comes to the home application use of these kinds of products. He notes that they are usually safe and sometimes effective, but people should not be trying to do a removal “while you’ve got a cigar or cigarette in your mouth.”
Other more natural methods of wart removal exist without the potential dangers of combustion, including products with salicylic acid and even duct tape, although the effectiveness of duct tape is debatable.
Extremely persistent warts should be taken care of by a professional, according to Dr. Anthony Gaspari, a dermatology professor at the University of Maryland Medical Centre. Wart removal options at a professional clinic can range from laser surgery to liquid nitrogen for effective wart removal.
What are Warts?
Warts are a common virus from the human papillomavirus family that is easily passed between people. A tiny scratch can allow the virus to penetrate the top layer of skin, causing rapid cell growth on the outermost layer, thus creating the wart.
Interesting fact? There are over 100 unique strains of the virus, and it can be caught in the most innocuous situations, such as touching doorknobs and shaking hands, for instance. Skin warts can come about from touching both inanimate and animate objects.
As Dr. Robert Brodell notes, the most common route of getting a wart infection is actually from a handshake, or from skin-to-skin contact. Small cuts from shaving may also be a culprit, which would account for men with warts in their beards, and some women who get warts on their legs.
There are five different types of warts, including periungual, filiform, flat, plantar and common warts. They also grow at different rates, some of which take months of growth before one notices it has actually formed. Some people are more susceptible to warts than others.
While there is a range of alternatives for warts removal, it’s important to keep in mind the importance of handling warts products and safety, in particular with cryogenic wart remover products that can potentially catch fire.
By Joscelyne Yu