Warts in Children: Care Instructions

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A wart is a harmless skin growth caused by a virus. The virus makes the top layer of skin grow quickly, causing a wart. Warts usually go away on their own in months or years. There are several types of warts. Common warts appear most often on the hands, but they may be anywhere on the body.

Warts spread easily. Children can reinfect themselves by touching the wart and then touching another part of their bodies. Your child can infect others by sharing towels or other personal items.

Most warts do not need treatment. But if warts cause pain or spread, your doctor may recommend that your child use an over-the-counter treatment. Or your doctor may prescribe a stronger medicine to put on warts or may inject them with medicine. The doctor also can remove warts through surgery or by freezing them.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Use salicylic acid or duct tape as your doctor directs. You put the medicine or the tape on your child's wart for several days and then file down the dead skin on the wart. You use the salicylic acid treatment for 2 to 3 months or the tape for 1 to 2 months.
  • Have your child take medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you think your child is having a problem with the medicines.
  • Keep your child's warts covered with a bandage or athletic tape.
  • Do not let your child bite their nails or cuticles. This may spread warts from one finger to another.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has signs of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from a wart.
    • Pus draining from a wart.
    • A fever.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • Your child does not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.