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virus; contagious; warts; plantar; wart; skin; feet ;


Sometimes you get a spot on your hands or feet, which grows into a wart. Warts are a nuisance. They don't look very nice and it can take quite a while to get rid of them. Lots of people get them, especially kids, so don't feel too bad if you do too.

What are warts?

wartsThey are growths on the skin that are caused by a virus.

They turn up one day, grow bigger for a while and may just as quickly disappear again when they are ready (although they may hang around for a couple of years or so if you don't try to get rid of them). They usually do not hurt.

While they are with you they can look ugly, they are contagious [say con-tay-jus] so that sometimes other people can catch them from touching, and they can hurt if they're between your fingers or under your foot.

What do warts look like?

Common warts usually look like a tiny greyish cauliflower. They are mostly found on hands, knees and feet.

Flat warts are the same colour as your skin and look like an extra bit of thick, smooth skin, like a disc or a small patch. They are usually found on the backs of hands and sometimes faces of children and young people.

Plantar warts are warts on the bottom of your feet. They are pushed inwards because you stand on them all the time. Plantar warts can be painful and they are the most difficult to get rid of. Sometimes they have tiny black dots in them.

Genital warts are a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

How do you get them?

wartsWarts are caused by a virus called Human Papillomavirus (HPV). They can go from one person to another by touching – either touching the person or touching something the person has touched. They don't spread easily so you don't need to be scared to touch your friend if your friend has warts on his or her hand.

As warts mainly grow on hands and feet, you have to be really careful around wet and warm places, like showers and swimming pools, where the virus could be on the ground waiting to get on you when you walk past. It can be a good idea to wear thongs instead of bare feet when you're walking around public swimming pools or in change rooms and public showers.

Scratches or cuts in the skin can give the virus a chance to get in, so keep hands clean and don't bite your nails.

If you already have a wart, then it is likely that you will get a couple of others.

If your friend has warts, don't stop playing with your friend or make your friend feel bad.  You could tell your friend what to do to make the warts go away.  Warts are not dangerous.  If you get a wart it cannot make you sick.

What you can do

  • wartsDon't pick or scratch at warts. Scratching, biting or picking at warts may spread them to another area of your body.
  • Wear sandals or thongs around public pool areas. Always wear your own boots and shoes, and don't lend them to others
  • Don't share other people's sports gloves or shoes if you have a wart or if they do.
  • Ask a parent or whoever looks after you to get treatments for getting rid of warts from the chemist. You have to follow the directions carefully and the warts won't go away overnight.
  • See your doctor if you want to get rid of warts more quickly. Your doctor may suggest that he/she freezes the warts or may suggest that other treatment such as cryotherapy (cry-o-ther-apy) or laser therapy could be useful. These are usually done by a specialist skin doctor - a dermatologist.
  • Don't worry about them and eventually they usually go away by themselves.

Wart's this!

What's this on my finger?
What's this on my toes?
What if I should get one
On the end of my nose?
Warts are so sneaky
They just pop up one day.
Try to ignore them
And they'll go away.
 - BH

Ask Grandma how kids got rid of warts when she was a kid. A lot of these old time 'recipes' that have been passed down from the 'olden days' might work (at least lots of Grandmas say they do).

Here are some 'passed down' ways to get rid of warts  (they might work).

  • Rub the juice of a thistle onto the wart and put a sticking plaster on.  Do this morning and night for a week.
  • Wrap sticky tape round the wart so that no air can get into it. Leave it on for three days, then take it off for an hour before wrapping it up again. Keep doing this until the wart has gone.
  • Someone sent this in using the feedback button. "In our family we use banana peel to get rid of warts. You just cut a small piece and put the soft, white side on the wart evey night when you go to bed. You can hold it on with a plaster or surgical tape. It usually takes about 1 week for the wart to go away.

Let us know if your family has ways that worked for you.

What some kids say

Here's some words from children who have had warts:

GDM says:
"When you use a product to paint on warts, put something like petroleum jelly around the wart before you use the wart remover. It will stop the remover burning the rest of your skin".

Tara says:
"Cut a lemon in half. Squeeze the juice into your hand.  Rub the juice into your warts for a few minutes. Wash your hands. Do this every day and your warts will go away".

wartsRebecca says:
"When I had a wart I soaked in a bath a couple of times and the wart got all soggy and it came off. I've never had another one. I guess I'm lucky".

Nathan says:
"When I had warts I had them burnt off. It hurt for a while but then it went away".

Jai says:
"I got my wart off by treating it with this red stuff. It took three weeks before it went."

Here's a short poem by Daniel:

Warts, warts,
Don't pick them with forks.
They will go away.
Be patient while they stay.

Dr Kate says:

Dr KateWarts don't look very nice and can make you feel bad just by looking at them, but they do not make you sick.

Follow the advice on getting rid of warts, but don't be surprised if they come back again, as they are very persistent little horrors!

Teenage girls and boys are now able to be vaccinated against the type of HPV which can cause genital warts and may go on to cause cervical cancer (cancer of the lower end of the uterus).

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We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


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