Warts Children

Who gets the most colds, stomach flus, skinned knees and warts? In children, these conditions tend to be harmless and short-lived, but warts on kids can sometimes be painful. More often, they’re annoying and embarrassing.

Common warts, also called flat warts, are the most prevalent warts on kids. Kids with warts on their feet, or plantar warts, may experience a certain amount of discomfort that may limit their activities until the warts are successfully removed.

Kids and warts are a very common combination. The Warts Information Center estimates that 10 to 50 percent of the world’s children will have warts at some point during their childhood.

Causes of Warts in Children

All warts are caused by the human papillomavirus, or HPV. Some doctors suggest the reason that warts are prevalent among kids is because children’s immune systems are still developing, and they’re not able to fight off HPV infections.

HPV is spread by skin-to-skin contact and skin-to-surface contact. That’s another reason warts in children are so common. Children spend more time in locker rooms and public swimming areas and are more likely to share towels than adults. Children are also more prone to scrapes and cuts than adults, so HPV easily gets past the body’s defenses.

Preventing Warts in Children

Warts spread in moist, damp environments. You can help prevent warts in children by taking these precautions:

  • Cover cuts and scrapes to keep HPV at bay.
  • Discourage biting and picking at fingernails.
  • Keep feet clean and dry.

If you discover warts on kids, stress the importance of not picking or scratching them, which can cause warts to spread.

Treating Children with Warts

Time is on your side if you have children with warts; most warts disappear on their own, without treatment. However, you might speed things up with these home treatments:

  • Duct tape: The tape can work quite well on kids with warts, but it does take diligence. Simply cover the wart with duct tape and leave it on for six days. Remove the tape, use an emery board to file the wart, leave the wart uncovered for a day, then repeat until the wart is gone.
  • Salicylic acid: A mild acid can burn away warts on kids without too much discomfort. It’s available over-the-counter in patches and gels.

If you’re dealing with stubborn warts in children, or if they’re spreading or causing discomfort, don’t hesitate to visit your doctor. Doctors have access to a wide range of more powerful treatments appropriate for warts on kids, including cryotherapy to freeze warts and cimetidine (Tagamet®), a drug used to treat stomach problems that has helped some children with warts.

Resources

Greene, A. (2000). Wart treatment. Retrieved June 25, 2010, from: http://www.drgreene.com/qa/wart-treatment.

Healthcommunities.com. (2007). Warts: Overview, causes. Retrieved June 25, 2010, from: http://www.dermatologychannel.net/viral_infection/warts.shtml.

Pediatrics for Parents. (1993). Article: Tagamet and warts. Retrieved June 28, 2010, from: http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-14971126.html.

Warts Information Center. (2010). How to protect your child from: warts. Retrieved June 25, 2010, from: http://www.warts.org/warts-in-children.htm.