It is not uncommon for parents to be surprised, and maybe even horrified, at the sight of a wart on their child’s fresh, young skin. We mistakenly associate warts with old age or poor hygiene, but the truth is, kids actually get them more often than adults do. Most of the time warts are completely harmless and even go away on their own. It is important, however, for parents to understand not only what is causing their child’s wart, but also when to seek professional treatment from a dermatologist.
What Causes Warts?
- A virus causes warts. The human papilloma virus (HPV) often causes warts when it enters an area of broken skin such as a scratch or cut on the feet or hands. Warts can, however, occur anywhere on the body. Being affected HPV is not uncommon. In fact, a recent NY University study found 69 percent of healthy Americans have an HPV infection on some area of their body.
- Your child may be unaffected by the wart, as it usually is not painful or irritating unless it in on an area of the body that frequently gets bumped. Warts can grow for many months and may be present and growing before you even see them. Since common warts spread through skin-to-skin contact, it is very important that you teach your child proper hand washing and be aware of nail biting habits that can invite HPV contact. If your child has a lower immune system, you may find that they are more susceptible to warts.
Identifying The Type of Wart
- Warts come in all shapes, textures and sizes. Some warts are smooth and flat while others are more like big, rough bumps. Other warts grow in tiny clusters. A board certified dermatologist can help you determine if you child has a common wart, flat ward (often seen in kids), plantar wart or other wart type and recommend the best treatment option.
Wart Treatment and Removal
- Olansky Dermatology Associates offers a variety of treatment options when your child needs wart removal. Treatment may begin at home with recommended salicylic acid products, which include bandages, gel, pads, or drops. However, your wart may need professional removal using electrical destruction or freezing liquid nitrogen. In some cases, if the wart is large or painful, a surgical excision is needed. Always talk to your pediatrician or dermatologist if you notice a wart that you are concerned about. A wart on your child is nothing to be ashamed about. In fact, it is more common than you may think.