The human papillomavirus causes warts. It is transmitted by touching another person with warts or by touching an object an infected person has touched. The HPV family of viruses includes more than 100 different strains. Common skin warts are the most common form of the HPV family of viruses, according to WebMD.
Warts are more common in children than in adults, according to KidsHealth. These viruses thrive in warm moist areas, such as small cuts on the hands. Children who pick at hangnails or bite their fingernails are more likely to get warts as they create small openings through which the virus can pass to cause an infection. The time from touching a person or object contaminated with the HPV virus and developing a wart varies, but good hand washing techniques help to prevent developing a wart. When using a public shower or visiting a public pool, waterproof sandals help to prevent painful plantar warts from growing on the feet.
While most common warts eventually go away without any treatment, Mayo Clinic recommends talking with a doctor about warts that cause problems. The doctor often uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the tissue surrounding the wart to cause a blister. As the body sloughs off the blister, it eliminates the wart. In some cases, the doctor recommends surgery, using an electronic device to burn away the wart, but the process is more painful than using liquid nitrogen and more likely to leave a scar.