Preventing warts and verrucas 

Most people will be infected by the human papilloma virus (HPV) at some point in their life and develop warts.

However, there are steps you can take to lower your chances of getting warts and prevent spreading them to others, if you have them.

To help prevent a wart or a verruca developing, you should:

  • not touch other people’s warts
  • not share towels, flannels or other personal items with someone who has a wart
  • not share shoes or socks with someone who has a verruca
  • avoid scratching or picking your wart or verruca because it will encourage the HPV to spread to other parts of your body
  • take care when shaving because the virus can be spread easily if you cut yourself
  • keep your feet dry, and change your socks every day to help prevent warts developing on your feet

If you have a wart or verruca, you should cover it up when taking part in communal activities. For example, you should:

  • wear pool slippers or flip flops in communal changing rooms and showers 
  • cover your wart or verruca with a waterproof plaster or a verruca sock when you go swimming, or while doing physical education at school
  • wear gloves when using shared gym equipment if you have a wart on your hand

Page last reviewed: 11/09/2014

Next review due: 11/09/2016