Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Got Warts?
Here's Good Advice

If you [or more likely a pre-teen or teenager you know] have warts, here is some interesting advice from Medscape [h/t to BenS]: See your pharmacist, not your physician!

A substantial part of the U.S. population has warts at any one time. Fortunately, most warts are of no consequence, other than being unsightly, although some cause pain or embarrassment. You may want to treat warts with OTC products rather than seeing a physician. Although some people try to ignore warts, this is not always a good idea for several reasons. First, warts will spread into new uninfected tissue without warning. They may also spread to other people if warts are damaged. For instance, a wart may interfere with work and be torn slightly, allowing the virus to escape. Children may pick or scratch at warts, allowing them to spread. Warts on the foot can be spread to other people who use the same bathing facilities. For these reasons, it is usually better to remove warts.

Should I Go to the Doctor?

Visiting a physician for treatment of a common wart (one with a cauliflower look to the surface) or plantar wart (a wart on the bottom of the foot) before trying a nonprescription product is not always the best move. Physicians remove warts through freezing, surgery, electrical methods, caustic chemicals, or lasers. Generally, these methods are expensive and painful. Treating a single wart with freezing can take nine weeks, with each treatment causing pain that lasts for several days.

Fortunately, your pharmacist can recommend several nonprescription products that have some important advantages over methods your physician may use[Emphasis added]. They contain salicylic acid, either in the form of liquids or pads. Salicylic acid products will be less expensive than physician methods such as electricity, surgery, lasers, and freezing. They produce little or no pain, as opposed to freezing or lasers (which may require general anesthesia in children). Salicylic acid products are also safer to use, as evidenced by the fact that they may be sold for home use. Finally, they are equally effective as some physician methods such as freezing, according to the latest evidence. Given all of these advantages, it makes sense to try to treat the plantar or common wart with these products before resorting to physician care.

Especially in Canada, where the waiting time to see a pharmacist is usually no more than five minutes, but the waiting time to see a dermatologist is often 5 months!

When BenS sent this to me, he added, "Pharmacists triumph over dermatologists. Score one wart (or more). Take aspirin and duct-tape and call me (your friendly local pharmacist) in the morning."
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