Warts in children

Warts are a fairly common occurrence in children. They occur when a virus of the human papillomavirus (HPV) family enters the skin. They most commonly occur on areas of the body such as the hands, feet, fingers, toes, and around the mouth. They are contagious but fairly harmless, although sometimes they can cause some pain or discomfort. In this blog, we’ll cover the types of warts in children and how to treat them and prevent them. 


Types of warts in children

Warts come in several different types. The first of these is common warts. They come in the shape of a small bump with a cauliflower-like appearance, often with a black center. Plantar warts are a type found on the bottom of the feet. These may be a little painful or uncomfortable as your child is probably always stepping on them, often feeling like a pebble is stuck in their shoe or under their foot. They also often have a black center, but are usually flat on the foot. Flat warts have flat tops and are usually small. They can occur in clusters and can be pink, yellow, or light brown. Filiform warts often occur on the face around the mouth, eyes, or nose, are flesh-colored, and are characterized by many long, thin “spikes.” 


How to treat warts in children

There are over-the-counter wart removers, but these often take a lot of work to see results. They come in the form of medicated pads, medicated creams, or gels, or medication that “freezes” the wart. These often take weeks to months to work. Be sure to read the instructions carefully and do not use these around your child’s lips or on their face.

If these don’t help and the wart is bothering your child, you can ask their doctor for help. Their pediatrician will be able to either provide prescription-strength medication or may try one of several in-office treatment procedures, such as freezing it away with nitrogen or laser treatment. Medication can also be prescribed to boost the immune system so the body gets rid of the virus causing the wart. 


How to prevent warts from spreading 

At home, if a child has plantar warts,  disinfect surfaces often, including bath tubs and floors. Have them wear slippers or shoes at home to prevent the virus spreading. Have your child wear flip-flops at pools or in public showers to prevent possibly contracting warts from someone else. Don’t share towels if one family member has warts. 

If your child has bothersome warts that are not responding to OTC methods, speak to their doctor.

For more on kids’ health, check out our blog section here!