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Warts in Children

Warts are small growths or bumps on the skin caused by a virus. They can grow on all parts of the body. They are commonly seen on the face, hands, feet, genitals, and rectal area.

The virus that causes warts is called the human papillomavirus, or HPV. There are over 100 types of HPV viruses. Warts can spread to other parts of the body, and they may be passed to another person when that person touches the warts. Your child can also get warts from objects that were used by someone who has warts.

Warts are skin-colored and feel rough. They often cause a painless bump on the skin. Common warts appear on fingers, near or under nails, and backs of hands. Warts on the soles of the feet are called plantar warts. They may grow directly into the sole of the foot or they may stick out from the surface of the foot. They tend to be smaller and smoother than other warts and grow in groups.

To take care of your child you can:

  • Cover the wart with a small piece of duct tape. Leave the tape on for a week. Wash the skin and rub off any dead wart tissue. Let it dry overnight, then put on more duct tape. It takes about 2 months to get rid of warts this way.
  • Buy wart-removing medicine at the store. This medicine has a mild acid that takes off the wart a little at a time. Be sure to follow the directions on the label.
  • Do not let your child pick at the warts. This can cause the warts to spread.

Warts can be frozen, burned, surgically removed, treated with chemicals or medicine, or removed by laser. These procedures must be done by a healthcare provider.

If warts are not treated, in most cases the immune system will slowly get rid of the infection, but it may take many months to years. Some warts last a lifetime.

Disclaimer: This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information provided is intended to be informative and educational and is not a replacement for professional medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.

HIA File derm3825.htm Release 13/2010

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