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Three Wart Treatments to Consider for Your Child

Three Wart Treatments to Consider for Your Child

Warts are growths caused by a strain of the human papillomavirus (HPV). They commonly affect children because their young immune systems have not yet developed resistance to the virus. Half of all warts disappear on their own within two years. 

Warts aren’t really a problem medically, but if they rub against clothing, hurt when your child puts pressure on them, or are just unsightly, you want them gone. Warts can look flat, rough, lumpy, or long and stalk-like.

Warts can be a struggle to treat, especially with over-the-counter methods. Our team at Penguin Pediatrics, consisting of Dr. Umesh Kodu and Dr. Andrea McKennon, recommends these three powerful wart treatments for kids so they can get clear skin.

1. Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid is an ingredient in over-the-counter wart removers, but the concentration is rather mild. The chemical is applied topically to the wart and destroys the layer of skin affected by the virus. 

We first file down the wart, then apply the salicylic acid to the wart-affected area (or areas). Salicylic acid is approved for use by the Food and Drug administration and is usually the first line of treatment. 

Because it has no significant side effects, it’s a good treatment choice for children. Salicylic acid does not work quickly, however. Depending on the location and stubbornness of the wart, treatment may take 3-6 months to work.

2. Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy involves using liquid nitrogen to “freeze” off a wart. We apply the compound for 20-30 seconds every 3-4 weeks until the wart falls off. Cryotherapy seems most effective on warts that develop on the hands. It can be uncomfortable, which is why the treatments are spread apart. Talk to us about the schedule that would be best for your child. 

3. Surgery

We suggest minor in-office surgery for warts when other treatments aren’t effective. Surgery might also be most appropriate because of the location of the wart or if you want immediate results. 

We numb the treatment area and gently cut away the wart. While surgery does a quick job of removing the wart, warts are more likely to recur with this treatment. Slight scarring is possible. Surgery can be challenging for children too, as it can be scary and slightly painful.

Stop warts from developing in the first place

Of course, you can’t prevent all warts, but you can greatly reduce the chance that your child will develop them.

Have your child wear flip flops or water shoes on public pool decks and in public showers, as HPV easily transmits through these surfaces. Teach them not to share towels, socks, or shoes with their friends or siblings, as this can also spread the virus that causes warts.

Children who pick at hangnails or bite their fingernails are at a greater risk for warts. These open cuts are vulnerable to infection from HPV. Picking at warts and then touching other areas of the face or body can also cause them to spread.

If your child has unsightly or uncomfortable warts, contact Penguin Pediatrics in Ashburn or Stone Ridge, Virginia. We can evaluate the skin lesions and offer the most appropriate treatment to help your child.

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