Warts are a type of skin growth that can occur in anyone but are more common in children and young adults. They often appear on the hands and feet but can be anywhere on the skin. Fortunately, warts can often be prevented and treated successfully. There are several hygiene and lifestyle tips that you can follow to help wart prevention in children.
A wart is a benign, or noncancerous, skin growth that can develop if your child gets infected with the human papillomavirus (HPV). Warts can spread easily from person to person through close contact or from one part of your child’s body to another. Warts usually aren’t painful and may disappear without treatment, but in some cases, this can take weeks, months, or even years. In addition, warts can be unsightly, making a child feel self-conscious, so treatment to remove a wart may be necessary.
Signs and Symptoms of Skin Warts
Typically, warts are not painful, unless on the bottom of the feet. There are many different types of warts and each type can look different. The most common types of warts and their symptoms include:
- Common warts– usually have a rough surface and are grayish-yellow or brown in color. They typically appear on the fingers, hands, knees, elbows, or face.
- Plantar and palmar warts–these grow on the soles of feet (plantar warts) or palms of the hand (palmar warts). Groups or clusters of plantar warts are called mosaic warts, which can be painful due to the pressure put on the warts when walking.
- Filiform warts –typically a cluster of fine, long, narrow growths or fronds that usually appear on the eyelids, lips, face, or neck.
- Flat warts– small, smooth bumps on the skin that are generally flatter than other types of warts. They most often appear on children’s faces and sometimes the hands.
- Periungual warts– often appear as thickened areas of skin that develop around the nails, which may cause painful splits in the skin (fissures).
Hygiene and Lifestyle Tips for Wart Prevention
The good news is that there are a number of simple hygiene and lifestyle practices that can help prevent warts in children. These include:
- Teach good hygiene practices. Encourage your child to wash their hands frequently, especially after using public restrooms or touching objects in public spaces, such as door handles or shopping carts. Make sure that they use soap and water to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds or more. Also, make sure that your child keeps their feet clean and dry after playing or participating in any physical or water-based activities.
- Avoid sharing personal items. Warts can spread through contact with an infected person or contaminated objects such as towels, socks, shoes, razors, and even toys. Avoid sharing these items with others, especially during a wart outbreak. Teach your child to keep their personal items separate from others when in public spaces.
- Wear flip-flops or Aqua shoes in public pools or showers. Warts can spread easily in communal hot and humid spaces, such as public pools or showers. Make sure that your child wears flip-flops or aqua shoes in public areas and dries off promptly after swimming or showering.
- Keep the immune system healthy. A healthy immune system can help your child fight off infections such as warts. Encourage your child to maintain a healthy diet and engage in physical activities to build strength and immunity. Also, ensure that your child receives all the necessary vaccines to protect them against HPV and other infections.
- Monitor your child’s skin. Keep an eye on suspicious bumps or growths on your child’s skin. If you notice any signs of warts, consult your child’s pediatrician right away for proper diagnosis and treatment. It’s important to seek medical attention to avoid the spread of warts to other parts of the body or to other children.
How Are Warts in Children Treated?
Unfortunately, warts cannot always be avoided, but there are a variety of treatments available for warts in children. The best type of treatment will depend on the type and location of the wart, but may include:
- A salicylic acid patch, liquid, or gel –this is the most conservative treatment method to treat a wart. This approach is effective but in some cases, it can take three months of daily treatment to successfully remove the wart.
- Cryotherapy – a minimally invasive treatment and a faster wart removal treatment. It involves the use of extreme cold to freeze and remove the wart using liquid nitrogen. The treatment may cause some temporary discomfort and stinging. Depending on the size of the wart and how well it responds to the treatment, the wart may need to be treated several times, waiting 4 to 6 weeks between treatments.
- Electrodesiccation and curettage (ED&C)–carried out under local anesthesia, the procedure involves drying the wart using an electric needle, then scraping it away with a special instrument called a curette.
- Laser therapy – involves destroying the blood vessels that serve the warts using a pulsed-dye laser. This deprives the wart of its blood supply, causing it to die and fall off. Laser energy can also help to kill the HPV that first caused the wart.
Preventing warts starts with practicing good hygiene, avoiding contaminated objects and spaces, and keeping the immune system healthy. By following these tips and monitoring your child’s skin closely, you can help make sure that your child stays healthy and wart-free. Remember, if you notice any signs of warts, don’t hesitate to seek medical advice. With the help of your pediatrician, warts can quickly and easily be treated and prevented from spreading.
Treatment for Warts in Children in Tuckahoe, NY
If your child has signs or symptoms of a wart, don’t delay, visit the compassionate and experienced providers at Village Pediatric Group. We provide high-quality care and a comprehensive range of pediatric healthcare services, including wart removal, for children of all ages and young adults.