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Water Warts

Molluscum contagiosum (Latin name)

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

Water warts is a frequent viral infection in the child’s skin. The illness is contagious. Water warts are little white spots. They appear on the child’s chest, back, arms or legs. The illness is benign and disappears by itself, but it can take several years. If the child has many water warts or they are a bother the doctor can scrape or freeze them away.

Water warts is a skin disease often seen with children. The illness is caused by a virus that infects from child to child. 1 week to 6 months after the child has been infected the water warts are formed. A child with water warts does not just infect other children, but can also infect itself. If the child picks at a water wart and touches itself another place on the body afterwards this will possibly cause new water warts. It is therefore normal to see more water warts next to each other.

Water warts are a benign ailment. Most water warts disappear by themselves in the course of one to two years, but sometimes it can last up to four years before a water wart will disappear. The child only rarely notices the water warts, although they can be a little itchy. Sometimes the water warts will become red and sore because the child’s clothes constantly moves over them.

The water warts appear as little (1-5 millimetres) white spots. In some cases the spot can be as big as 15 millimetres. The centre of the bud is often turned inwards. The water wart contains a tough paste that looks like a pearl-sago. Thus water warts are different in appearance than the warts the child can get on hands or feet. The spots typically appear on the chest, arms and legs.

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1 week to 6 months after the child has been infected the water warts are formed. Water warts spread between children by touch, by sharing a towel and clothes that has been in contact with a water wart. Also common showering – including swimming pool – can spread the virus. Water warts spread on the individual child, if it picks at the water warts and thereafter touches another place on its body.

Day care:
All children with water warts can attend day care or school.


Ordinary remedies against warts can be used.

What can you do?

Since most water warts disappear by themselves it is important to have patience and wait. To prevent the water warts from spreading, to other children or other places on the child’s body, it is important to remember to wash hands if anyone has touched the warts. The child with water warts should have its own towel. The child should not scratch the warts since this can lead to the child infecting itself and getting more water warts. If the water warts do not disappear by themselves after a few months you can try treating with remedies against warts. Ask for them at the pharmacy.

Contact the doctor tomorrow

If the water warts spread or the child is bothered by the water warts. The doctor can scrape or freeze the water warts to remove them. If a water wart turns red, swells and becomes sore it can indicate a possible inflammation of the water wart.

Contact the doctor immediately

This is never necessary.