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Is My Child Stuck With Warts for Life?

If a wart shows up on your child’s hands, feet, or face, it’s not a life sentence. These hardened areas of skin can actually appear just about anywhere, and anyone – old or young -- can get them, but kids tend to be especially vulnerable.

It’s not clear why some kids are more likely to get warts, but research shows that it’s definitely not due to kissing frogs! Your child will likely outgrow their warts, and most go away on their own.

If you or your child are bothered by warts and want them gone now, Dr. Umesh Kodu at Penguin Pediatrics can remove them using virtually pain-free methods.

Here’s what you should know about your child’s warts.

Warts are caused by a virus

Certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) cause warts. HPV thrives in warm, moist places – like damp towels, shower stalls, and public surfaces. The virus can also be passed via a handshake or other contact. The virus enters the skin through tiny cuts or abrasions, but isn’t highly contagious.

Because warts grow slowly and it may take years before you even notice one, you’ll never know where or when your child came into contact with HPV. HPV can even continue to linger in the skin after a wart’s been removed or gone away on its own. This means warts can recur.

Identifying a wart

Warts don’t usually hurt, but if it’s in a spot that gets rubbed by clothing or where pressure is applied, like the bottom of the foot, they can be irritating.

Warts aren’t all the same. They may be:

Warts’ characteristics vary according to where they grow on your body.

Warts aren’t permanent

At-home treatments for warts are available, but these over-the-counter methods are often ineffective. It’s best to seek professional medical care for persistent, bothersome warts. If your child’s wart suddenly changes color, shape, or size, have it evaluated right away.

At Penguin Pediatrics, treatment depends on the type of wart your child has and its location. Dr. Kodu may apply a concentrated formula of salicylic acid that gently dissolves a wart layer by layer.

Cryosurgery, which involves “freezing” off the wart with liquid nitrogen or a similar compound, can destroy the HPV virus that’s causing the wart. Excision is another possible treatment. Dr. Kodu uses a scalpel to scrape off the growth and restore smooth skin. You might choose this option if the wart is causing pain during activity.

We always use a local anesthetic to prevent pain during wart removal, so your child doesn’t have to worry about the appointment. Multiple visits may be required to make the wart go away completely.

Whether or not your child continues to have warts as they get older depends on their personal biochemistry. Some people are just more prone to developing warts compared to others, and it’s not clear why. But you can take care of warts now so they don’t have to suffer the discomfort or embarrassment.

If your child has a wart or warts that you want to have evaluated or removed, call Penguin Pediatrics to set up an appointment. Our offices are located in Ashburn and Stone Ridge, Virginia. If you prefer, you may use the online tool to schedule. 

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