Keeping Kids Healthy Advice
Almost fifty percent of children get a wart at some point. Warts are passed from person to person by a virus known as the human papilloavirus (HPV), and not from touching frogs or toads. They can occur on any area of the body, but are usually found on fingers, hands and feet.
Warts are skin lesions that are caused by a virus and are contagious. However, touching a wart doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll get one. There is no way to prevent warts, but good handwashing can decrease the chance that a wart will form if your child has been exposed to someone with warts, especially in areas where your child has scratches or cuts. It’s also a good idea to have your child wear waterproof sandals in locker rooms, around public pools and in public showers.
There are several types of warts including:
Common warts are found on fingers, hands, knees and elbows. They are dome-shaped with a rough surface and usually grayish-brown.
Flat warts, also known as juvenile warts, are small (about the size of a pinhead) and smooth with flat tops. They can be pink, light brown, or yellow. They are normally found on the face, but may grow on arms, knees or hands.
Plantar warts are found on the bottom of the foot and can cause discomfort when walking.
Filiform warts are flesh-colored and shaped somewhat like a finger. They commonly grow around the mouth, eyes or nose.
In most cases, warts heal on their own without treatment in about 6 months, but some can last for 2 to 3 years. They can be removed quicker with treatment, but may return if the virus is not completely removed from the skin. Because they heal on their own and don’t cause any life-threatening problems, it isn’t necessary to have them removed unless you have concerns. However, there are several treatments that you may want to consider to keep warts from being spread to other parts of the body.
Your doctor may:
prescribe a medication to put on the wart
burn the wart off
freeze the wart with liquid nitrogen
use laser treatment, which works well to remove plantar warts or other warts that are more difficult to remove
The wart may fall off several days after the treatment, but may require several treatments. If your child has a common wart on his or her finger, you may want to talk to your doctor about using an over-the-counter treatment. If you have a young child or infant with a wart anywhere on his or her body, or if you have a child (of any age) that has a wart on his or her face, genital, or rectal area, call your doctor before you try an over-the-counter medication.
You should also call your physician if a wart (treated or untreated) or the surrounding skin is painful, red, bleeding, swollen, or oozing pus.