Most of us have warts somewhere in our body at some point in our lives. It can be possible that we never have an idea that they are actually present, because some are barely noticeable and are not annoying. In fact, most warts do not pose any health risk at all. They just disappear on their own.
A wart, also known as verruca, is a kind of skin infection caused by a virus. It is made up of hardened skin with usually a bumpy surface and comes in many sizes, colors, and shapes. Warts are common and are caused by a virus, specifically by the human papilloma virus or HPV. This virus is usually found in warm, moist parts of the body such as the hands, feet and fingers. They can easily be passed on through skin contact with an infected person, or by touching anything someone with a wart has used.
Unfortunately, children are more likely to get warts than adults. Different kinds of warts grow on different areas of the body, caused by different infecting strains of the virus.
• Common warts appear as raised, dome-shaped, grayish-brown lesions that usually grow on the hands and feet. Common warts characterized by a rough surface with interior black dots, are generally caused by types 1, 2 and 3 strains of the HPV.
• Flat warts are smooth and not raised. They are small and about the size of a pinhead, usually found on the child’s face. But they also grow on the arms, knees or hands. Flat warts are caused by HPV type 1 strain.
• A plantar wart is the only painful type of wart. Found usually on pressure points of the sole of the foot, these warts grow as hard, oftentimes painful lumps, with few black specks on the center. Types 1 and 2 strains of the HPV are responsible for this.
• Filiform warts are flesh-colored with finger-like appearance, that usually grow on the eyes, nose, and mouth.
• Genital warts are mostly found in adults. They are caused by many different types of HPV strains, namely 6, 11, 16, 18, 30, 31, 33, 34, 35, 39, 40 and others. Genital warts are named such because they are found on the anal, penile, vaginal and cervical areas. It is the only type of wart that can be transmitted sexually. Additionally, HPV types 16 and 18 are also probable causes for cervical cancers in females.
Warts in children do not cause much treatment concerns unless it causes pain or discomfort in children. Your child’s health care provider can identify the warts and suggest possible treatment solutions. Plantar warts, for instance, are very hard to differentiate from corn and calluses. Treatment options include prescription medicine, cryosurgery, laser treatment, and surgical removal.
It is generally not necessary to have warts removed. Without treatment, they can go away in several months or even years. Wart removal is only warranted for painful warts, or if it causes too much discomfort. Also, some warts recur several months after removal.
Although children are not really free from acquiring warts because of the high communicability of the virus, it is still best to take preventive measures. Having the family develop the habit of frequently washing hands and skin is always a good idea. To protect against plantar wart and other infections, have them wear waterproof sandals or slippers in public showers, pools and locker rooms. It is also wise to make them aware to not use somebody else’s towels or touch anything that has been used by somebody with warts. For those who already has warts, avoid rubbing, scratching or picking at the lesions to avoid its spread in the body.