Can warts be prevented?

There is no foolproof way to prevent warts. However, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of getting them. HPV thrives in warm and humid areas. In order to reduce the risk of getting warts:

  • Wear flip flops or sandals when you use a public locker room, public pool area, or public showers.
  • Do not touch or come in contact with another person's wart.
  • Do not scratch or pick at a wart.
  • Do not shave over a wart.
  • Keep items such as clothing and towels that may come into contact with the wart away from others in the house.

A note about HPV

HPV is also the cause of cancer of the cervix (part of the uterus or womb), and can cause cancer of the penis and anus. HPV is now the major cause of mouth and throat cancer. Most genital warts and cancers caused by HPV can be prevented by the use of condoms and by the HPV vaccines (Gardasil® and Cervarix®).

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/04/2016.


  • American Academy of Dermatology. Warts: Overview Accessed 4/14/2016.
  • American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. Warts Accessed 4/14/2016.
  • Bolognia, J., Jorizzo, J. L., & Schaffer, J. V. (2012). Dermatology. Philadelphia: Elsevier Saunders.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What is HPV? Accessed 4/14/2016.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HPV Vaccines Accessed 4/14/2016.

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