Worried about Warts?

by Jill Taylor on February 13, 2013

in Medical Information

frogAs you hold your boy’s hand, you notice a small, hardened area of skin that looks like a wart. You suddenly become worried.

Warts are not contracted from little boy’s playing outside with frogs and toads, but from a virus. In fact, it is common for children to get warts.

Why Do Kids Get Warts?

According to Dr. Charlie Williams, pediatrician at McLane Children’s Scott & White, warts are a viral infection of the skin that is spread by direct contact.

The virus is known as human papillomavirus, HPV, and behaves like other germs. Warts like warm, moist places and can grow for many months, sometimes a year or more before they are big enough to see.

If your child came into contact with HPV, it is difficult to determine exactly how he got the wart. It could be from a shared towel, surface, direct contact with someone who has warts.

What Kind of Wart is it?

The different kinds of warts are mostly the same, the only difference being the location of the lesion, says Dr. Williams.

Your child may have:

  • Common warts usually appear on the fingers, hands, knees and elbows. It is dome-shaped and usually gray-ish brown. It has a rough surface with black dots. Click here to see an image.
  • Flat warts are also called juvenile warts because kids get them more often than adults. These are generally found on the face and forehead. They are small, about the size of a pinhead. They’re smoother than other warts and may be pink, light brown or yellow.
  • Plantar warts are found on the soles of the feet and may be painful. Avoid walking barefoot in public places and change footwear often to avoid plantar warts. Those with plantar warts may need to see a podiatrist for optimal treatment.

What Can I Do?

Your child may be embarrassed about his warts, and you may be looking for treatment options.

“I tell patients that we can either treat them to make them go away, or that they will eventually go away on their own but it may take months to a year to do so,” says Dr. Williams.

Luckily, most warts are not painful and cause little harm if left alone.

“The best thing to do is to not pick at the warts and try not to rub them,” says Dr. Williams. “Children can even put a bandage over the wart to discourage manipulating it.”

Because warts spread virally, it’s especially important to avoid picking, rubbing or scratching, so that the virus doesn’t spread to others. If you’re looking for treatment options, Dr. Williams or your pediatrician can help.

Here are a few ways warts are removed:

  • A doctor can give you prescription medicine to apply directly to the wart for a few weeks.
  • You may like to freeze the wart with a Cryotherapy, where the doctor uses a special chemical on the wart to kill the virus that causes the wart. A scab is formed and this is usually repeated one to three weeks for a few months.
  • Stubborn warts can undergo laser treatment to zap the wart, and may need to be repeated a few times.
  • As a last resort, surgery can also be performed to remove the wart.

Witches are not the only ones with Warts

Witches and fairytale creatures are not the only ones with warts. Our culture has made warts seem disgusting and a result from someone who is dirty or unkempt. Let’s remember it is common for young children to get warts. It is spread by a virus, and there are a number of ways kids can contract warts.

If your child is suffering from warts, Dr. Williams says, “Reassurance by the parents to the child that they will eventually go away is important.”

Talk to your child about his wart and tell him he doesn’t have to sit out from normal activities. Although it may be embarrassing and bothersome, warts will go away over time. It is important to seek the right type of treatment and not try to remove the wart on your own. This will cause further irritation and spreading.

If you have more questions about warts or would like to see a pediatrician for treatment, visit us here.

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