Warts and Children
Over 120 HPV types have been identified and each strain is referred to by number. The HPV virus causes warts and each type of wart is named for either its appearance or the the place on the body where it occurs. In spite of the media hype about the HPV virus, some strains of this virus cause comparatively harmless warts in children. However, children do have immature immune system so this makes them more likely to pick up warts in the first place.
HPV is opportunistic and will often take advantage of any small scratch, cut or wound in the skin to invade warm moist places – particularly on the fingers, hands and feet. Children will have many more of these small scratches, cuts or wounds than adults plus they also tend to have more skin-to-skin contact with other children as well as sharing lots of items like towels, clothing, toys and more.
These reasons along with the more immature immune system can lead to the appearance of warts in children from time to time.
Although most warts are painless, plantar warts on the soles of the feet can become very painful when they start to grow inwards because of the pressure and weight of being walked on all the time.
There are four main types of warts that affect children:
Common warts which usually appear on fingers, hands, knees or elbows. They look like a small, hard bumps shaped like a dome and are a brown to grey color. Their rough surface sometimes reminds people of a tiny cauliflower.
Flat warts which are very small and about the size of a pinhead. These warts have flat smooth tops and are usually the same color as your flesh. Although commonly occurring on the face, they can also grow singly or in clusters on arms, knees or hands. If children scratch or pick at flat warts, they can be spread to other parts of the body.
Filiform warts which have a finger-like shape and are usually flesh-colored. They often grow on or around the mouth, eyes or nose.
Plantar warts which are those painful warts that appear on the soles of the feet as already mentioned. Please be aware that it is important to treat plantar warts as soon as possible as they become more stubborn and more painful the longer they are around.
It is always easier to treat your children’s warts in the early stages plus this has the added advantage of preventing them being so contagious.
- OTC products that contain acids to help remove the dead skin cells on the surface of the wart. Various strengths are available, from 17% with liquids to 40% with patches. These products are usually applied daily to remove the warts layer by layer until they have disappeared - but do not use on the face because of the harsh ingredients.
- Cryotherapy is another method for treatment, using extremely low temperatures to literally freeze the warts away with liquid nitrogen. While the treatment can be carried out by doctors or dermatologists at a cost, there are also over-the-counter cryotherapy products available. Once again, these products should not be used on the face.
- There are prescription medications for small warts.
- A common home remedy for treating flat warts is the the use of adhesive tape which is placed over the wart. Several layers of waterproof tape are placed over the area and left on for 6 days. Then the tape is removed and the area left open to the air for 12 hours. If the warts are still present when checking, the tape is applied for a further 6 days, continuing the process for as long as necessary. This is not a method we recommend.
- You can chose a natural and topical product from healing natural oils to use as a safe and gentle home remedy for all warts (including on the face) where both the root structure and the surface of the wart are treated naturally so there are no side effects such as burning or scarring. The warts that are removed with this method will not return and will not spread.
- If your child is prone to HPV warts, look at boosting the immune system. There are many ways to do this including checking vitamin D levels and topping up with plenty of sunlight plus a vitamin D3 supplement if necessary; changing to a healthier, whole food diet while avoiding those foods that are processed, contain unhealthy fats, are high in sugar and that contain stimulants; ensuring sound, good quality sleep; and enjoying regular exercise.
In addition, educate your children to avoid warts by practising good hygiene; washing their hands thoroughly in soap and water at appropriate times; wearing footwear when in public damp places like around swimming pools, in showers or locker rooms; and resisting the urge to bite their fingernails or to pick at hangnails.
The world is changing with more and more people looking for natural and alternative methods of treating various conditions. If your children have any warts, consider going the natural route for such warts treatment.