Should Your Child See a Doctor?

Warts

Is this your child's symptom?

  • Warts are small raised growths that have a rough surface
  • Viral infection of the skin

If not, try one of these:

Symptoms of Warts

  • Raised, round, rough-surfaced growths on the skin
  • Skin-colored or pink
  • Most commonly occur on the hands, especially the fingers
  • Not painful unless located on the sole of the foot plantar wart. Also can be painful if on part of a finger used for writing.

Cause of Warts

  • Warts are caused by several human papilloma viruses
  • Different types of warts are caused by different papilloma viruses

Prevention of Spread to Others

  • Avoid baths or hot tubs with other children. Reason: Warts can spread in warm water.
  • Also, avoid sharing washcloths or towels.
  • Contact sports: Warts can spread to other team members. Warts should be covered or treated.
  • Time it takes to get warts after close contact: 3 months

Call Doctor Now or Go to ER


  • Redness or red streak spreading from wart with fever
  • Your child looks or acts very sick

Call Doctor Within 24 Hours

  • Redness or red streak spreading from wart without fever
  • Boil suspected painful, red lump
  • You think your child needs to be seen

Call Doctor During Office Hours

  • Wart on bottom of foot plantar wart
  • Wart on face
  • Wart on genitals or anus
  • 4 or more warts
  • Pus is draining from the wart Apply antibiotic ointment 3 times per day until seen
  • On treatment more than 2 weeks and new warts appear
  • On treatment more than 8 weeks and warts not gone
  • You have other questions or concerns

Self Care at Home

  • Common warts - 3 or less

Care Advice for Warts

  1. What You Should Know About Warts:
    • Warts are common 10% of children.
    • Warts are harmless and most can be treated at home.
    • The sooner you treat them, the less they will spread.
    • Here is some care advice that should help.
  2. Wart-Removing Acid:
    • Buy a wart medicine with 17% salicylic acid such as Compound W. No prescription is needed.
    • Apply the acid once a day to the top of the wart. If there are many warts, treat the 3 largest ones.
    • Since it's an acid, avoid getting any near the eyes or mouth. Also try to keep it off the normal skin.
    • The acid will turn the wart into dead skin it will turn white.
  3. Duct Tape - Cover the Wart:
    • The acid will work faster if it is covered with duct tape. Do not use regular tape.
    • If you don't want to use an acid, use duct tape alone.
    • Covering warts with duct tape can irritate the warts. This will turn on the body's immune system.
    • Cover as many of the warts as possible. Cover at least 3 of them.
    • The covered warts become red and start to die. Once this happens, often all the warts will go away.
    • Try to keep the warts covered all the time.
    • Remove the tape once per day, usually before bathing. Then replace it after bathing.
    • Some children child object to having the tape on at school. At the very least, tape it every night.
  4. Remove Dead Wart:
    • Once or twice a week, remove the dead wart material. Do this by paring it down with a disposable razor.
    • This is easier to do than you think. It shouldn't cause any pain or bleeding.
    • Soak the area first in warm water for 10 minutes. Reason: The dead wart will be easier to remove.
    • Some children won't want you to cut off the layer of dead wart. Rub it off with a washcloth instead.
  5. Prevention of Spread to Other Areas of Your Child's Body:
    • Discourage your child from picking at the wart. Picking it and scratching a new area with the same finger can spread warts. A new wart can form in 1 to 2 months.
    • Chewing or sucking on them can lead to similar warts on the face.
    • If your child is doing this, cover the wart. Use a bandage such as Band-Aid.
    • Keep your child's fingernails cut short and wash your child's hands more often.
  6. What to Expect:
    • Without treatment, warts go away in about 2 years.
    • With home treatment, they can usually be cleared up in 2 to 3 months.
    • There are no shortcuts to treating warts.
  7. Return to School:
    • Your child doesn't have to miss any child care or school for warts.
    • There is only a mild risk that warts spread to others.
  8. Call Your Doctor If:
    • Warts develop on the feet, genitals, or face
    • New warts develop after 2 weeks of treatment
    • Warts are still present after 12 weeks of treatment
    • You think your child needs to be seen

And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the 'Call Your Doctor' symptoms.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.

Copyright 1994-2015 Barton D. Schmitt, MD. All rights reserved.