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Warts in Children

What are warts?

Warts are noncancerous skin growths caused by the human papillomavirus. Warts are more common in children than adults, although they can develop at any age. Warts can spread to other parts of the body and to other people. There are many different types of warts, due to many different papillomavirus types (more than 100). Warts aren't painful, except when located on the feet. Most warts go away, without treatment, over an extended period of time.

Common types of warts

The following are the more common types of warts:

  • Common warts. Growths around nails and the back of hands. These usually have a rough surface and are grayish-yellow or brown in color.

  • Hand and foot warts. Located on the soles of feet (plantar warts) or the palms of the hand (palmar warts) with black dots (clotted blood vessels that once fed them). These clusters of plantar warts are called mosaic. These warts may be painful.

  • Flat warts. Small, smooth growths that grow in groups up to 100 at a time. Most often appear on children's faces.

  • Genital warts. These warts grow on the genitals. They are occasionally sexually transmitted. Unlike other common warts, they are soft and don't have a rough surface.

  • Filiform warts. Small, long, narrow growths that usually appear on eyelids, face, or neck.

Treatment for warts

Specific treatment for warts will be decided by your child's health care provider based on:

  • Your child's age, overall health, and medical history

  • Extent of the growths

  • Your child's tolerance for specific medicines, procedures, or therapies

  • Expectations for the course of the growths

  • Your opinion or preference

Warts in children often disappear without treatment. Treatment of warts depends on several factors, including:

  • Length of time on the skin

  • Location

  • Type

  • Severity

Treatment may include:

  • Application of salicylic and lactic acid (to soften the infected area). It is available over-the-counter.

  • Freezing with liquid nitrogen

  • Electrodesiccation (using an electrical current to destroy the wart)

  • Immunotherapy

  • Laser surgery

  • Cantharadin by itself or in combination with salicylic acid and podophylin

  • Imiquimod

  • Intralesional injection of candida

  • Surgery

Online Medical Reviewer: Berman, Kevin, MD, PhD
Online Medical Reviewer: Freeborn, Donna, PhD, CNM, FNP
Last Review Date: 5/5/2015
© 2000-2015 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

404 - Page not Found.

The page you are looking for may have moved or no longer exists. Please use our feedback form to report this page as missing.

To find the correct web page, please try to access our most popular pages using the links below, or search by keyword.

Popular Pages 

Contact Us

For general inquiries, please call the main number at 202-476-5000.

Thank you for visiting and sorry again for the inconvenience.

Children's National in Your Neighborhood

A location marker

Did you know Children’s National has more than 50 locations throughout the region? Find one that’s convenient for your family.

Find a Children's Location Near You