Warts on Children

Warts on children are very common, much more than in adults. The reason is children play outside, practice sports and touch everything especially when little. This makes them very exposed to all kinds of viruses and bacteria.

The cause of child warts infection

The cause of warts on children is the human papillomavirus (HPV). This virus takes advantage of small cuts and scratches on the skin to penetrate inside their bodies. Then, the virus forms warts, small rough growths on the skin. Warts take time to grow to a size that is clearly visible. Usually, it takes several weeks and sometimes months before they can be seen. For this reason, it is going to be hard to know where your child have got the virus.

The places where children are more likely to get infected are gyms, swimming pools, playgrounds and generally all the places where it is possible to get in direct contact with other people. Touching a towel, a surface or anything that has been in contact with a person infected with warts, can lead to an infection. Also, you should know that children who bite their nails are more exposed to HPV infections compared to children that don’t. This is because they will create small scratches on their hands and create an opportunity for the virus to enter their body.

warts on children

In the case of infection, to prevent the child from infecting other parts of the body or other people, it is very important to make sure they will not touch infected areas and that they will not get in direct contact with other children until the warts are completely removed.

Warts that frequently form in children

There are many types of warts. Some are smooth and flat, some are big and rough, others are very small and form in groups. The majority of warts are not painful unless they are scratched or picked. Below you can find the types of warts most commonly developed in children:

  • Common warts: grow on fingers, hands, knees and elbows. They have a rough surface and distinctive black dots. Normally their color is light grey or yellow/brown.
  • Flat warts: are often called youth warts because children are more easily infected than adults. This type of warts are small, flat and of a pink or yellow/light brown color.
  • Plantar warts: are the most painful type of warts because of the weight that the body exercise on them. To prevent plantar warts, you have to make sure that the child will not walk barefoot in public places or places not too clean. Also, socks have to be changed every day and feet have to be kept clean and dried.

Treatments for warts on children

There are many different treatments to get rid of warts and they are chosen based on the type of wart and on the area where they grow. The treatments that doctors usually prescribes are:

  • Lotions or creams: they contain acids that slow the growth of the wart and have to be applied for months, often without any result.
  • Cryosurgery: liquid nitrogen is used to freeze and eliminate the wart. The treatment leaves can leave scabs and scars and has to be repeated one to three weeks for a couple of months. 
  • Laser: it is normally used to remove big warts or when other treatments have not succeeded. This type of procedure as the others above has to be repeated for several times.
  • Surgical removal: the wart is incised and removed with a scalpel.

Something that you should know about these treatments is that they are very painful and have a long healing period. Especially for children these methods can be considered a real torture. The skin of a child is very sensitive and soft. Every treatment after the first will be increasingly more painful and at the end your child is probably going to be left with scars. In the case of plantar warts, there is a very high risk that your child will not to be able to walk for weeks or even months.

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