Warts on kids at first glance can cause immense worry, especially for those unaware of the cause. Additionally, they can become a burden if easily noticed by peers with teasing as a result. While as a parent you may be aware that warts are harmless, it is often of little consolation to a child, and removal options are sought. Thankfully wart treatment usually lacks complexity and cost, with a doctor’s visit only needed in severe situations. The following article will explain childhood warts in detail as well as effective removal options to use if that is your ultimate goal.
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Childhood warts are a relatively common occurrence. In fact, more children get warts than adults do. From a health standpoint, there is no reason to worry about warts showing up. Provided you confirm the diagnosis as warts, you can take a deep sigh of relief that it isn’t something more serious. Sometimes warts are mistaken for blisters and vice versa. For visual help on confirming warts, see our wart or blister article. Due to how common they are, there is no need to panic and worry that your child has contracted a rare disease or anything of the sort.
Warts will usually not make you any worse for the wear but can be irritating in some cases.
They are painless outside of a few situations such as:
- Injury or trauma to the wart.
- Frequent friction due to clothing or sports equipment.
- Picking at warts or attempting self-removal by cutting.
- Some extreme treatment methods.
Causes of warts on children
Warts on children as well as adults only have a single cause, the human papillomavirus. This is a human-specific virus so ignore all the old myths about getting warts from toads and similar things. The human papillomavirus has well over 100 strains, and many of them can cause warts. People who contract the wart strains of the virus can never be affected by it at all, or they can develop warts. Either way, there is no threat to health and safety.
Much like other viruses and germs, HPV can be contracted simply by doing things you do every day. For example, if your child has a scrape on his or her hand and touches a bathroom door handle where HPV exists, contracting the virus is likely. HPV is literally everywhere and is not something that can be completely avoided with good hygiene or carefulness, so no need to scold a child with warts.
Why and how do kids get warts?
As for why kids get warts in general, this is simply due to contact with the virus at some point in their childhood. As mentioned previously this could be something as simple as using the monkey bars at the neighborhood playground. Like many germs and viruses, it is just the luck of the draw. There are no real wart prevention options that will protect completely. Even those who get HPV may never develop warts at all.
Scientists have determined that the likelihood of developing warts once you have been infected is based in part on immune system strength. This explains why children, who are building up antibodies and protection for their life, develop warts much more frequently than adults. With immune systems still developing and strengthening, it is far easier for the virus to cause warts.
There are several different types of warts that children can be afflicted with and these normally include:
Common warts are, as their name implies, the most common type of wart for both children and adults. For a full overview of common warts, visit this page. These are standard warts you will typically notice on hands and fingers, but they can occur anyplace. Juvenile warts are so named because they are several times more common in children than they are in adults. These warts appear in masses of dozens to more than 100, which distinguishes them from common warts.
Genital warts are extremely rare and not normally seen in children. The occurrence of genital warts on children is viewed as a sign of possible sexual abuse. All cases of genital warts should be reported to your doctor. If child abuse is suspected, contact the police immediately to make a report.
Plantar warts are known for being the exception to the rule as far as painless warts. These warts exist on the feet, and because of the constant pressure caused by walking, pain is common and can be severe. Filiform warts are facial preference warts that are quite raised and prominent. Molluscum contagiosum can often be mistaken for warts which have caused the nickname water wart. For help differentiating between normal warts and water warts, please click here.
Hands and fingers
Warts on the hands and fingers of children are usually common warts. These warts may appear alone or the child may have a few at a time. Being on the fingers makes them relatively easy to treat via wart removal bandaids which contain wart killing medicine on the bandage.
Hand warts may appear anywhere on the hand or target specific areas such as:
When warts occur on or beneath the fingernails, this is a different type of wart. These are known as periungual warts and are a more severe type. The growth of the wart putting pressure on the underside of the nails can cause pain, and they are harder to get rid of due to their unique location. A doctor’s care is suggested if your children have this unique type of wart.
When they are on feet
As stated, warts on feet are known as plantar warts. The constant pressure applied to the wart can make these very painful. Additionally, they can become covered in a callus as that is how the body deals with constant pressure and pain on the bottoms of feet. Plantar warts can take longer to treat than other wart types as plantar warts tend to be very deep or covered in the thickened skin.
With children being especially active, finding ways to prevent the discomfort while waiting for removal treatment may be necessary. Look for wart removal products made specifically for feet that mention comfort shapes or use standard callus cushions to prevent the pain from interfering with normal childhood activity.
Warts on toddlers
Warts on toddlers are really no different than warts on older children or adults. The same types and rules apply with only treatment restrictions to keep in mind. Do not use any OTC wart treatments that are not specified or approved for use with children. Warts on toddlers, as well as older kids can be left alone and will eventually die and disappear on their own. How long that takes depends on the wart and may be a few months to over a year.
For warts on toddlers there is really no need to remove them unless the wart is causing irritation or other problems. As warts are harmless and toddlers will not necessarily be worried about their appearance, wart removal will be little more than an unnecessary expense in this case. If removal is desired, seek a doctor’s care.
Wart removal for children should ideally be focused on ease of use. Children should never be left to remember to administer treatments on their own even if they are simple bandaid treatments. Warts need consistent and complete care when using removal treatments. Skipping a few days or stopping too soon will allow warts to regrow and possibly spread as well.
It also may be helpful to align treatments based on your child. For example, a child who frequently picks at their warts may not leave bandaids alone and in place to kill the wart. In this situation a wart cream applied twice a day will be more effective. Use your best judgment on options that will work best for your kid.
How you can treat
How you treat warts on children will depend on the type and location of the wart and may depend on the age of your child.
Some standard treatment options are:
- OTC Salicylic acid wart cream.
- OTC Freeze-off wart removers.
- Prescription wart creams for tougher warts.
- Cryosurgery and laser removal by a doctor.
Methods you can purchase at your local grocery store or drug store are often the best place to start. They are easy to find and effective while remaining low priced. Always ensure the option you’ve chosen for your son or daughter is appropriate for their age range.
Best products I can use
Here are the top 3 products that will get the job done and are safe for children beyond their toddler years. Each of these items is priced low and easily found both online and offline at your local pharmacy or mass market retailer.
- Compound W Freeze Off
Where to find: Amazon, Walgreens, Walmart
Benefits: Can be used on children as young as 4. Works in a single treatment for most warts. Single step treatment for common and plantar warts.
- Dr. Scholls Clear Away Wart Remover
Where to find: Walmart, Amazon.com, Walgreens
Benefits: A single step treatment. Doesn’t require daily application. 14 separate treatments per box. Clear and discreet while being durable for playtime.
- Wart Remover
Where to find: Riteaid and Riteaid.com, Amazon.com, Walgreens and wartstick.com
Benefits: Great for finicky kids, solid stick that rubs on dry. Easy to use, safe and painless.
Warts in children are common and rarely necessitate the worry of their parents. Treating and removing childhood warts is a simple process that is identical to removing warts on adults. While children are more likely to develop warts from HPV infection than adults, it is important to remember that warts are harmless. Unless they are bothering your child or interfering with his or her social interaction, wart removal is unnecessary as they will eventually go away on their own. Utilize the many easy to use products available at your pharmacy before spending more money on expensive treatments at your doctor.
You can find further details of Types of warts here.