Mysterious things – verrucas: painful and, according to some doctors best left alone, which is odd. Even more odd is some doctors will tell you you most likely didn’t pick that verruca up at the public swimming pool like you thought. They’re not infectious you see? They’re caused by a virus that gets into your skin, and they’ll go away on their own if you leave them alone, though it might take them a couple of years. A Chiropodist, will tell you a different story though: they’re highly infectious, spread like wild fire, and swimming pools are excellent breeding places for them.
Confused? Me too!
When my kids were regularly visiting the public swimming pool, they had them all the time. When they stopped, they stopped getting them. Coincidence? I don’t know. What I do know however, is if you leave them alone they get bigger, and they hurt more. That’s not my imagination – they really do.
If you go to the chemist you’ll be able to pick up a kind of acid based gel. You dab it on and it takes the top layer of skin off. Then you scrape at the thing with a nail file – Yuk! It also hurts, as my offspring will tell you. After mucking about with this gel for the first few verrucas, I read up on natural remedies and decided to try a dab of tea-tree oil instead. The oil is an extract from the Australian Narrow Leaved Paperbark tree, and is a powerful antiseptic, horribly expensive, but worth every penny.
It worked a treat.
I just a dabbed the verruca every night with a cotton bud soaked in neat Tea Tree oil, then covered it with a small plaster. I could usually get rid of the thing in a couple of weeks – but you have to put the work in. So far as I’m concerned every parent’s emergency tin should contain a nit-comb, a bottle of malt vinegar (see previous post) and some Tea Tree oil.
The last verruca I dealt with though was a monster and pushed me into the realms of homeopathy. My son had discovered a huge verucca that I’d thought beyond the help of Tea Tree, so he was dispatched to the local sawbones who tried to freeze it off with liquid nitrogen (@$ck?) . This didn’t work. Understandably my son was a reluctant to bother the sawbones again, so we started with the Tea Tree. Then I heard of a homeopathic remedy called Thuja!
This is an extract from the needles of the coniferous Thuja Occidentalis tree, or White Cedar. Native Canadian Indians were in the habit of drinking the extract which was unusually high in vitamin C and found to ward off all manner of skin complaints, including the dreaded scurvy. Now, I’m not well up on homeopathy and you must forgive my ignorance here but my understanding is that it’s based upon the idea of taking something that will cause a specific kind of harm – like boils, for example, if imbibed in its undiluted form. Then you dilute it over and over until there’s basically nothing left but water- and this is the homeopathic remedy for curing that specific ailment – i.e. getting rid of your boils. It sounds a bit odd to me, but lots of people swear by it and I have a fairly open mind, so we tried a homeopathic preparation of Thuja which we purchased over the counter from our local Holland and Barret store.
The verruca had gone in a week.
Naturally I’m not qualified here, beyond having had to deal with the blasted things for the best part of a decade, and we must all approach them in a way that seems right to us, which means that if you’re in any doubt consult a doctor. Speaking for myself, I had good results with the natural remedies. They were fuss-free, pain free, and and they’d be my first response if I ever came across a verruca again.