Warts are a common skin condition in children, especially school aged children. They are typically small dome shaped bumps that are rough in texture and may develop in a variety of colors; including yellowish, tan, black, brown, or grey. They are caused by a virus known as Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).
They most often occur on the hand/fingers, toes, knees, and sometimes the face, but can appear anywhere on the skin.
Common warts in children will go away without treatment most of the time, with some resolving as quickly as 1-2 months and others taking several years. Treatment may be helpful for warts that are painful, large, or cosmetically bothersome.
For any warts near the face, eyes, mouth, or genitals see your pediatrician or dermatologist before starting any treatments.
Salicylic Acid – Over-the-counter (OTC) wart treatments including salicylic acid can often be effective and come in various forms including liquid, gel, patches, or adhesive bandage.
- Prescription strength formulations are also available if OTC treatment fails.
Duct Tape – Cutting and placing a piece of duct tape over the wart has been shown to often be effective and is a safe alternate treatment method in children.
- Cover the wart for 5-7 days, replacing the duct tape if it falls off.
- After 5-7 days soak and cleanse the area with warm soapy water.
- Use a new and clean pumice, emery board, or disposable nail file to remove the dead skin/wart.
- Re-apply another piece of duct tape 12 hours later and continue this cycle as needed.
Freezing – Cryotherapy is a method of freezing the wart with cold liquid, such as liquid nitrogen.
- This should be done by an experienced pediatrician or other licensed professional.
- Avoid over-the-counter freezing or cryotherapy treatments as they may be ineffective or unsafe in children.
Referral for specialty treatment – If the wart is especially large, painful, in a sensitive area, complex in appearance/number, or the above treatments have failed your pediatrician may refer you to a dermatologist for further evaluation and treatment.
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