DESCRIPTIONFlat warts are benign small tumors of the skin caused by a virus. This type of wart is not passed by sexual activity, but it is contagious. The skin along scratch marks or other areas of injury is involved. In children, flat warts occur most often on the face or injured surfaces of the arms and legs. In young adult males, they usually occur on areas of the face that are shaved. In young adult females, they are common on the legs or other areas that are shaved.
Appropriate health care includes:
Self-care to apply topical medications.
Doctor's treatment to remove warts with chemicals, cryotherapy, or curettage (See Glossary), with or without electrosurgery (See Glossary).
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSThey are flat-topped, square-shouldered, solid elevations barely raised above the child's skin surface.
They appear along scratch marks or other areas of skin injury and accumulate in lines or clusters.
They don't hurt or itch the child.
Flat warts have the following characteristics:
Flat warts are caused by the contagious papilloma virus. The virus is shed from the child's fingers and spaces beneath the fingernails.
Use of immunosuppressive drugs.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCENo specific preventive measures except to protect your child's skin from injury and to wash hands frequently.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSNone expected.
In children, flat warts spread rapidly, reach a plateau period and disappear soon after. In adults, flat warts are stubborn and may last for years without treatment.
HOME CARERemove the source of trauma, if possible:
Males with flat warts on the face should shave with an electric shaver or grow a beard.
Females with flat warts on areas that are shaved should use other methods to remove hair, such as depilatory cream or wax.
MEDICATIONRetinoic acid (Retin-A) or benzoyl peroxide. Either should be applied once or twice a day for 4 to 6 weeks. Apply a small amount to each of your child's warts with the tip of a toothpick.
Duofilm (16% salicylic acid). Follow directions on the medication label.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
Your doctor may prescribe:
DIET & FLUIDS
No special diet.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?Yes.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has symptoms of flat warts.
Warts continue to spread despite treatment.
Signs of infection (redness, pain, or fever) develop in a treated area.