WARTS (Verruca Vulgaris)
WARTS (Verruca Vulgaris)
DESCRIPTIONWarts are benign tumors caused by a virus in the outer skin layer. Warts are not cancerous. They are contagious from person to person and from one area to another on the same person. The skin anywhere on the body is involved, but warts are most likely to appear on the fingers, hands, and arms. Warts are most common in children and young adults between ages 1 and 30, but they may occur at any age.
Appropriate health care includes:
Home care after diagnosis and treatment.
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications.
Cryotherapy (freezing cells to destroy them). This is an office procedure that doesn't require anesthesia or cause bleeding. Freezing stings or hurts slightly during application, and your child's pain may increase a bit after thawing. Destroying the wart usually requires 3 to 5 weekly treatments.
Electrosurgery (using heat to destroy cells). This treatment can usually be completed in a single office visit, but healing takes longer and secondary bacterial infections and scarring are more common.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSWarts begin very small (1mm to 3mm) and grow larger.
Warts have a rough surface and clearly defined borders.
They are usually the same color as the child's skin but sometimes are darker.
Warts often appear on your child in clusters around a "mother wart."
Small black dots or bleeding points appear just below the wart's surface.
Warts are painless and don't itch your child.
A small, raised bump on the child's skin with the following characteristics:
CAUSESInvasion of the outer skin layer (epidermis) by the papilloma virus. The virus stimulates some cells to grow more rapidly than normal.
Warts are very common in children. By adulthood, 90% of all people have antibodies to the virus, indicating a history of at least one wart infection.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCETo keep from spreading warts, urge your child not to scratch them. Warts spread readily to small cuts and scratches.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
Spread to other body parts.
Secondary infection of a wart.
Within a month, 20% of warts disappear spontaneously in children. Without treatment, it may take 2 or 3 years for the remainder to disappear in most children.
If your child has electrosurgery, keep the treatment site clean with soap and water. Cover with an adhesive bandage, if you wish.
If your child has cryotherapy, a blister (sometimes with blood) will develop at the treatment site. The roof of the blister will come off without further treatment in 10 to 14 days. There should be little or no scarring. Your child can wash and use make-up or cosmetics as usual. If clothing irritates the blister, cover with a small adhesive bandage.
MEDICATIONYour doctor may prescribe chemicals, such as mild salicylic acid, to destroy your child's warts. If so, apply twice a day for 4 to 6 weeks.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
DIET & FLUIDS
No special diet.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?Yes.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has warts and you want them removed.
After removal by cryosurgery or electrocautery, signs of infection appear at the treatment site.
After treatment, your child's temperature rises over 101F (38.3C).
Warts don't disappear completely after treatment.
Other warts appear after treatment.