Three Skin Surprises to Know About Back to School

Getting ready to go back to school is exciting for students. From breaking in new school supplies to getting ready to see friends and play sports again, there’s a lot to look forward to. 

But going back to school (especially after a year of remote learning in most places) also means remembering that being in close quarters with classmates inevitably leads to swapping germs. As you help your child ease back into their school routine, be on the lookout for signs of the following contagious skin conditions. 

Issues to Watch For


Caused by a virus which can be transmitted by touch, warts are small growths that commonly appear on the fingers and hands. They may also contain small, black dots, which are actually clotted blood vessels. Warts are usually flesh-colored, pink, white, or tan.

Although they aren’t typically dangerous, many people elect to have warts removed for cosmetic reasons. According to the Mayo Clinic, sometimes wart removal requires a two-pronged approach, including an immune system stimulation to fight the virus, as well as removal of the warts themselves. 

Prescription-strength wart medications and cryotherapy (freezing) are two common removal practices.


Rashes can be notoriously difficult to identify, and can stem from a wide range of sources. While a simple heat rash can appear as red, blistering skin, other rashes can be caused by viral infections and may be more serious. 

Here are a few transmissible rashes commonly seen in school-aged children:

  • Hand, Foot, and Mouth (HFM)
    This infection is caused by a variation of the coxsackievirus and is highly contagious. In addition to a red rash, children may develop pustules, mouth sores, and a low-grade fever. The condition usually clears up on its own within 10 days, but over-the-counter children’s pain and fever relievers can provide relief in the meantime.
  • Ringworm
    Ringworm is a red, ring-shaped rash caused by a fungus. The infection can live on the skin as well as shared surfaces, such as gym floors and mats. Topical antifungal creams can help fight the infection, but oral antifungal medications may be needed to eradicate it altogether.
  • Impetigo
    Another highly contagious infection, impetigo presents as red sores on the face, nose area, mouth, hands, and feet. An antibiotic ointment can be applied to the sores for several days, though oral antibiotics are sometimes prescribed instead.


Molluscum contagiosum is caused by a viral infection that produces lesions all over the body. These lesions —or mollusca — are white, pink, or flesh-colored and raised. They can be itchy, red, and swollen. 

Molluscum can be spread by physical contact and transferred to other parts of the body through touching or scratching. The condition usually clears up on its own within several months, but oral or topical therapy can be provided to hasten the removal of the lesions.

If your child is experiencing these or any other skin issues, allow our team to help. Our dermatologists provide personalized care for patients of all ages and any skincare needs. To schedule an appointment with one of our providers, schedule an appointment with us online or call (404) 355-5484.