Wart Prevention 101: Practice Clean Habits

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Folklore attributes getting warts to touching toads or kissing frogs. Children tend to get warts. Does that mean children have a higher tendency than adults do to touch toads? No. Forget that myth. There’s a better explanation behind it and an even better way to prevent them from developing on your child’s skin, thanks to science. Here are the facts on warts and wart prevention that every parent should know.

– 10 percent to 20 percent of children between the ages of 12 and 16 have common skin warts.
– Girls are at a higher risk than boys to develop common skin warts.
– Warts are contagious but typically harmless.

Causes and Types of Warts

Warts are noncancerous skin growths, developed in humans by the human papillomavirus (HPV). They become communicable through open skin, usually through a scratch or small cut. The virus generates rapid cell growth on the external layer of skin, giving the wart its lumpy, or protruding characteristic. Most warts are skin-colored, but some become darker over time. They can be smooth or rough.

Warts are commonly found on the fingers and the backs of hands. One type of wart, the palmar wart, develops on the palms of hands. Plantar warts grow on the feet. Flat warts, typically smaller and smoother than the aforementioned types, can grow at a rapid pace and are often found on the face and back of hands.

Practicing Wart Prevention

HPV can be passed between children due to direct contact. Once the virus infects the skin, it can take months before development of visible spots.

Some kids are more sensitive to wart development than others. Kids with weak immune systems, such as kids who’ve had invasive surgery performed on them, have a higher risk of developing warts. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that children with strong immune systems are less able to develop HPV.

HPV can spread by sharing toys and towels or playing with schoolmates. But have no fear; wart prevention can be achieved easily.

– Urge your child to wear sandals at the public pool, including public showers.
– Assign one pool towel to your child, and tell them not to let their friends use it.
– At home, prevent your bathtub from becoming a wart repository by cleaning it weekly with bleach.

Of course, there’s no sure way to achieve 100% wart prevention. Your children can develop warts just by playing with their friends. But by developing cleaner habits you can immensely lower your child’s risk of getting them. And, fortunately, warts have no adverse health effects and typically go away on their own.

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