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By Bjarne Lühr Hansen PhD, MD and Philipp Skafte-Holm MD, Mentor Institute

Warts are caused by a viral infection in the skin. Most warts appear on hands or feet. Warts are infectious. In the course of 1-2 years, far the most warts disappear without any treatment. On the pharmacy you can buy remedies for warts. A doctor can freeze and cut off especially difficult warts.

Warts are caused by a viral infection in the skin. Half of all warts disappear by themselves – without any treatment – in the course of one year. After two years, two thirds of all children with warts will be cured without treatment.

Approximately 10% of all children get one or more warts. The warts can appear all over the body but most frequently they are found on hands or feet.

Hand warts grows outward from the skin – like a lump. They are solid and the surface looks like the head of a cauliflower. Often, the warts appear around the edges of the fingernails. Warts on the hands are usually not sore. They may become sore if the child picks at the wart or if the wart often bumps against different objects.

Verrucae (warts on the sole of the feet) are more flat and grow down into the skin. In the bottom of the wart you can see small black spots. The small spots are blood vessels. The verruca can cause soreness or pain especially when the child walks or runs.

Many parents and children wish to be treated for their warts. Some because they think they are ugly, others because the wart hurts or because they are afraid of infecting others. All these are good reasons. The problem is that there is no particularly effective treatment of warts and far most warts disappear by themselves.

You can buy different ointments or plasters over the counter that contains salicylic acid. The doctor can freeze warts but that method is not as effective as salicylic acid. As a last resort the doctor can cut away the wart. Both freezing and cutting of warts are painful.

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Warts infects from child to child by touch. Especially new warts are contagious. Warts can also infect the individual child – one wart may become more – this is especially prone to happen if the child picks at the wart.

The contagion is transferred by touching the wart or via floors. The spread of verrucae often occurs in gymnasiums and shower rooms where the children have bare feet. The risk for contagion can be reduced if the child covers the wart and uses beach sandals.

It will take 1-8 months from the child has been infected till the wart appears.

Day care:
There are no special precautions for warts on the hands. If a child with verrucae is not in treatment, it should use shoes and sandals. A child with warts is therefore allowed in a swimming bath. If the child is not receiving treatment for verrucae the child must simply wear sandals.


You can buy different ointments or plasters over the counter that contains salicylic acid. Be sure to read the instructions thoroughly.

What can you do?

It is important to realise that most warts disappear by themselves and that the risk of infecting other children is small if the wart is covered. There is therefore good reason not to treat warts.

If the child is bother by the wart or has too many warts to be able to cover them up, a treatment should be considered.

Contact the doctor tomorrow

If, in the course of a couple of months, your own treatment has not helped and the wart still bothers the child, the doctor can choose to cut off the wart or freeze it.

Contact the doctor immediately

This is never necessary.