Warts are caused by a virus that is called human papillomavirus (HPV), which infects the top layer of the skin. There are over 100 different types of HPV and the viruses are highly contagious. Even though the strains of the virus that cause warts are harmless, they can be unsightly and sometimes cause discomfort.
Warts can also cause embarrassment in social situations, which can be especially difficult for children and adolescents. If your child has become infected with warts, you can help by learning more about the causes and symptoms of warts, as well as available treatments.
Warts can easily be passed to another person through direct skin-to-skin contact or via infected skin cells on inanimate objects, such as towels, shower floors or toys. The virus enters your child’s body through lesions in the skin and breaks out in the form of warts months later. But not everybody that comes into contact with the virus develops warts. Children are more prone to become infected with HPV because their immune systems are not fully developed, and they also tend to have more cuts and scrapes than adults.
The HPV virus initially lies dormant and the infection only becomes apparent after the wart starts to grow. The virus has an average incubation period of two to six months. Once the virus breaks out it will create an extra layer of hard skin, resulting in a raised growth that looks like a tiny cauliflower and usually has a rough surface. The edges of the wart often appear hard, whereas the middle part is softer and sometimes has tiny black dots. These dots are tiny blood vessels that supply the wart with nutrients. Warts are usually round or oval and average 1-10 mm in diameter. The colour of warts and verrucas – warts that grow on the soles of your feet – can range from white to brown-grey. If you see signs of warts on children they should be treated immediately, as it can take two years or more for warts to disappear on their own and the infection could spread to others in the meantime.
There are many options for warts removal in children, although some methods are more effective than others. The vast majority of warts in children can be treated at home with an over the counter solution. Salicylic acid and freezing have traditionally been the most common forms of home treatments. One effective option is to treat the warts with formic acid, which is easy to use and suitable for use in children. The EndWarts PEN contains formic acid and can be used by the whole family, Always consult a Healthcare Professional before treating a child under the age of 4.