Warts In Children: Separate The Myths From Facts, Learn How To Treat Warts The Simple Way .
Why is it that warts is common in children, and what can parents do to save the situation? Whereas it’s a fact that this problem is common among children, that doesn’t mean there’s absolutely nothing that can be done to get rid of warts in them. We may not know, but this must be the reason why Folklore associated warts with touching frogs or toads. But is it time that parents forget about the myths and focus on hard facts about this condition? Let’s see the what’s, the why’s and the where’s of warts in children:
Statistically proven, between 10%-20% of children have warts. Out of this percentage, girls are prone to getting warts more than boys. Warts is a skin condition that affects children between the ages 12-16. It’s a condition that’s contagious, but harmless, which explains why it spreads like bush fire. Whereas they are not common at the infancy stage, warts become common as children grow. That’s a statement that was made by Alfie Krol, the president of the society of Pediatric Dermatology.
Even though warts are harmless, they bother some children more than the others. They are an embarrassment to some children and they also prove to be a great source of discomfort, especially when they appear on the soles of the feet. Therefore, as a parent, you ought to know what causes this condition, what can be done, as well as proper treatment options for warts.
The cause and types of warts commonly seen in children
The human papillomavirus or HPV causes warts in children. They form when the virus attacks the skin. This virus gains entry into the skin through small cuts or scratch. As a result, there’s abnormal growth of the skin cells on the outer layer of the skin. Warts are often skin colored, but can be dark sometimes. They can also be smooth or rough.
The following are types of skin warts, known as verrucae:
1 Common warts: These are found on the fingers, the back as well as hands
2 Palmer warts: These are found on the palms
3 Plantar warts: They commonly affect the feet and soles
4 Flat warts: They are generally smaller and smoother than other warts. Flat warts are commonly found on the face and can multiply in numbers quickly
5 Filiform warts: Like flat warts, they are found on the face too
6 Genital warts: They don’t affect children because they are sexually transmitted
How to reduce the risk of contagious warts in children
These viruses responsible for common warts are passed from child to child. Once they finds their way into the skin, it takes months for the actual warts to manifest.
Some children are more prone to warts than others. These are children who have a compromised immune system in most cases. Children who may have undergone an organ transplant are susceptible too. But children who like biting their nails or picking sharp objects are also prone to warts because they create small cuts on the skin to allow the virus to enter.
That said, it doesn’t meant that children with good immune system and nail habits are resistant to warts. In fact, they can also get infected as well.
Children end up picking the virus in many ways. They share toys and play with friends and in the process, catch the virus. However, there are many ways to prevent your child from contacting this virus. Here’s Krol’s favorite tips:
1 When in public showers or swimming pool, encourage your child to put on flip-flops.
2 If a member of your family has plantar warts, encourage them to spray (if they are old enough) a dilute bleach solution on the bathtub after use. They should rinse after spraying the solution.
3 Assign one towel and bath to every child and instruct them not to share.
These are just some precautionary measures that a parent can take. Of course, there’s no sure way that guarantees a 100% protection because children often play with others and you can’t stop them from doing that. That means there’s a possibility to catch warts, says Nanette, the MD and Director of Pediatric and adolescent dermatologist at St-Luke Roosevelt hospital in the city of New York.
”If a child plays with a monkey bar and another one touches the surface, the virus is transmitted straight away and that particular child develops warts”.
Should parents treat warts on children?
The good thing is that warts don’t harm children’s health and they disappear with time. Doing nothing is perfectly fine, says Krol. In fact, studies show that 40% of children show improvement within 2 years without treatment.
But still, some children feel that warts are bothersome and want them treated, especially if they are affecting the feet. Warts on the feet may affects a child’s ability to perform well in sports. Common warts on the other hand cause embarrassment in some children too.
Here’s a summary of common treatment methods that can be used to treat warts. However, there’s no guarantee that the warts will go away permanently as there’s a tendency of recurrence.
Simple home remedies and OTC drugs
There are lots of theories about home remedies for warts. In the past, Stephen Webster, the MD and a dermatologist at Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center has come across outrageous ideas for treating this problem. One such theory states that you should rub the wart with a potato and them bury it in a secret place, where people won’t find it.
People have gone extra miles in treating warts eg. applying castor oil on warts, or crashed paste of vitamin C. All these are some home remedies thought to be effective, yet others (like the potato rubbing) are just too outrageous.
But there are other home remedies that have been proven scientifically to be effective in treating warts. They include:
1 Removing warts with duct tape
This method has been shown to work to deal with warts in children , though it takes perseverance to get results. It involves covering the warts with a duct tape for 6 days before removing the tape and soaking the wart in water. Once that has been done, the wart undergoes gentle debridement with an Emery board. The process is repeated until the wart is no more. It may take a few months to completely get rid of the warts in this manner.
2 If that’s too much work for you, consider over-the-counter drugs that can be bought at any drugstore. However, before purchasing medication, you should consult with your doctor to ascertain that they are warts and not cones and calluses.
When using OTC wart removers, you’ll want to know about the different wart removers available at the drugstores. They include:
Salicylic acid or adhesive pads and solutions.
Clean the affected area. Apply the solution according to the instructions and remove the dead skin with a pumice stone. However, the success rate with this treatment method is only 75%, and usually takes 6-12 weeks, says Nanette.
Don’t ever use OTC treatments on a child’s face or lips.
When should you take your child to the doctor?
If these OTC drugs are not working, you could talk to a doctor to discuss more effective ways of treating warts. Nanette says most doctors have two approaches when dealing with warts. They’ll either remove it or boost the immune system of a child so that the warts can clear up.
They remove warts using any of the following ways:
1 Doctors Freeze the affected areas using liquid nitrogen. Nanette says liquid nitrogen is more powerful than other OTC freezing remedies.
2 Alternatively to cure warts in children doctors will give parents a prescription of moderate-strength salicylic acid to treat the warts at home.
3 Doctors may also use laser treatment or surgery to get rid of the warts. However, surgery is not a very good option as it leaves behind ugly scars.
But there are ways in which doctors can build the immune system to fight warts naturally. Here’s how:
1 They may prescribe a medicine known as tagamet which stimulates the immune system by attacking and clearing the warts. However, this type of medicine must be taken for two to three months in order to achieve perfect results.
2 Again, your physician may inject the affected area with a substance known as Candida skin test antigen. However, with this Warts In Children treatment option, results are dependent on the body’s ability to recognize both viral and fungal antigens and attack the warts.
3 Lastly, your doctor may apply topical treatment such as squaric acid onto the skin to boost the immune system’s effectiveness. Nanette says this acid is a universal antigen. Almost everybody reacts to it, so definitely your child’s immune system will respond and start acting on foreign invaders. Immune boosting therapies take up to 3 months, if at all holistic results is to be achieved.