Wart Removal for Kidsby A. Elizabeth Freeman
Children are more likely than adults to get common warts on their hands and fingers or plantar warts on their feet, since their immune systems are still developing. If your child has a visible wart that she's embarrassed by, you can try several methods to remove the wart at home. It may be in your child's best interest to see the doctor first to make sure what she has is actually a wart.
An unlikely but typically effective home remedy involves covering a wart with duct tape. The duct tape must stay on the wart for about six days. After six days, remove the duct tape and soak the wart. Then, use an emery board to file away dead skin. It usually takes about two months for duct tape to remove a wart completely. Other over-the-counter and home methods include coating the wart with salicylic acid, which eats away at the protein of the skin and eventually removes the wart.
Taking Your Child to the Doctor
If duct tape or another home remedy is ineffective at removing your child's wart, you may want to have a professional take the wart off. A doctor can use liquid nitrogen to freeze the wart off. Cryosurgery can be painful and may be scary for some children. Usually, more than one treatment is needed to remove the wart. Another option at the doctor's office is cantharidin, a substance that causes a blister to form beneath the wart so that the doctor can snip the wart off. While cantharidin treatment is not painful, the blister that forms usually is.
Warts tend to clear up on their own within a few months or a year or two, so you may want to leave well enough alone, unless the wart is causing problems for your child. Plantar warts can cause pain, since they are on the bottom of the feet. Other warts may be embarrassing for children. If your child is the type to pick at his warts constantly, you should probably take steps to remove them. Should your child get a wart on his face, don't use an over-the-counter treatment on it. Take him to the doctor for removal instead.
Improperly removing a wart has a number of risks. You can use an emery board or pumice stone too much and start to file away living skin, which can cause bleeding and discomfort. Never try to slice or cut away a child's wart with a razor blade or clippers, as doing so can spread infection. Using salicylic acid on regular skin can cause burning and irritation. Cryosurgery can damage the beds of nails or cause nerve damage, according to MayoClinic.com.
Keeping Warts Away
While you may not be able to completely prevent warts on your child's hands and feet, you can take steps to stop the spread of warts. Have your child wash his hands often. If he uses a public shower, such as during gym class, make sure he has a pair of flip flops to wear on his feet. Don't let him pick at the wart or bite his fingernails, which can spread the wart from one finger to another.