Warts, Cold Sores, & Other Viral Infections

Written by Kristina Collins, M.D., FAAD

Almost everyone gets a wart at some point in their life and these frequently resolve on their own. However, if you have a wart that is stubborn or growing, you can treat it with at-home remedies. Using a disposable nail file, exfoliate and file down the wart. Make sure to toss the nail file after each use. Apply an over-the-counter wart treatment containing 20-40% salicylic acid, then cover with fresh duct tape for the remainder of the 24 hours of the day. Do this process daily and don’t be surprised if it takes a few weeks to work. Avoid picking or scratching the wart to prevent spreading it. If you notice warts on the genital area, consult your doctor.

Cold Sores

Written by Kristina Collins, M.D., FAAD

Cold Sores (aka fever blisters) are super common during the preteen and teen years and can be embarrassing. Pay attention to triggers that bring on your cold sores, like stress, fatigue, menstruation, a viral infection/fever, or UV exposure. This way you can take antiviral therapy as early as possible when a cold sore is developing.

A cold sore often will go through stages and they generally take 7-10 days to heal.

Stage 1: tingling, itching, and a painful spot as the cold sore develops or starts to emerge.

Stage 2: small fluid-filled blisters typically erupt in clusters along the border of the lips.

Stage 3: the small blisters may ooze, burst, and then scab over.

Stage 4: as the scab heals there may be flakiness in the area and some residual inflammation.

Ask your caregiver or doctor about using Lysine, which can be purchased over-the-counter as an oral supplement or ointment. Your doctor may also recommend and provide a prescription for an antiviral medication like acyclovir or valacyclovir. Lastly, to prevent cold sores from spreading to other parts of your body or to other people keep your hands clean, avoid touching the cold sore, avoid kissing others, and avoid sharing items such as drinks or towels etc.

Molluscum contagiosum

Written by Kristina Collins, M.D., FAAD

Molluscum contagiosum are small, pink dome-shaped papules that can occur anywhere on the body and are spread via close contact. These frequently resolve on their own with no intervention but you can try applying over-the-counter retinol daily to give your body a boost in fighting them off. If they become widespread, or fail to resolve, you may need to see a doctor and have them treated in the office with something called cryotherapy (where the doctor gently applies a bit of freezing spray to the lesions).