Viral Warts in Children Dermatologist2019-02-06T18:18:44+00:00

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Viral warts can affect any part of your child’s body but commonly the hands and soles of their feet (called verrucas)

IN THESE VIDEOS, I EXPLAIN THE SYMPTOMS AND CAUSES OF VIRAL WARTS – AND HOW TO TREAT IT

In the videos above, I explain things in a simple way that applies to most people who have viral warts. Of course, no video or website can replace the value of a personalised consultation. At your consultation, you can have your child’s skin carefully examined and get an expert recommendation to help you resolve their condition.

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Treatment helps people of all ages take control of their skin condition and get their life back.

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How do viral warts impact children on a day-by-day basis?

VIRAL WARTS CAN BE EMBARRASSING AND DEPENDING ON THE LOCATION CAN BE UNCOMFORTABLE AND PAINFUL

Warts feel firm and rough

They can appear on palms, knuckles, knees and fingers. Verrucas appear on your child’s feet. They have tiny black dots under the hard skin. Some warts are round, flat and can be yellow (plane warts). Your child can have many of them. Clusters of warts, spread over an area of skin (mosaic warts) are common on feet and hands.

Do viral warts hurt?

Viral warts may not cause any symptoms but if they on weight-bearing areas (for example, the soles of feet) they can be uncomfortable and painful.

You may find yourself trying to cure them

Unfortunately, although there are dozens of old wives’ tales and folk remedies knocking around for the treatment of warts, often these have little effect.

Warts can make your child feel self-conscious

If viral warts present in visible areas (for example, hands) they can cause embarrassment. It is easier to catch the HPV virus that causes warts when your child has a cut or scrape on their skin. Children can spread warts from one place on their body to another. Warts can spread from person to person, but they are not highly contagious.

What is the best treatment option for your child’s warts?

There are some treatments available, but none are foolproof. Therefore, I usually advise a combination of treatment techniques performed both in clinic and at home to get the maximum benefit and the best results.

What my patients love about my service

MY PATIENTS ARE MY BEST PROMOTERS

Please pass on my thanks to Dr Pratsou for her assessment on my continued taking of roaccutane.

She was completely right, I didn’t need a new course, I needed to move away from the drug. The creams she gave me and Cetaphil recommendation have meant my skin has been the best it’s ever been (ongoing and since I saw her) ALL SUMMER :))))) I’ve had zero problems…and I’m loving it.

Thank you once again.


Phillip, Acne

“Dear Dr Pratsou,

Following the consultation today I feel it appropriate to say thank you for your help in dealing with my rosacea.

On each occasion, I have visited your department I have noticed the kindness and cheeriness of all the staff I have encountered and particularly wanted to say that you made me feel at ease with your calmness and excellent manner.

All is much appreciated.”


Anne, Rosacea

“Thank you very much!!

You three were (and are) a great team!

I will remember you.

You made me feel comfortable.”


Ellie

“Tania,

Please pass to Dr Pratsou my thanks for her skilled work.

The wound is healing beautifully and now the stitches are out it looks as though it will be almost invisible once fully healed.”


Graham, Skin cancer removal

“Dear Dr Penelope, Rena & the team, (I can’t remember the nurse’s name who helped me during my 2 procedures at the Spire!)

I wanted to thank you for your support and help during a very difficult time. You guys do a wonderful job – and we are eternally grateful for your help.”


Clarissa, Skin cancer

“I would like to put on record how impressed I was with the operation you performed for the removal of the SCC on my neck. I cannot even see where the cut or the stitches were! I am indeed very grateful for the excellent work you do.”


Harry, Squamous Cell Carcinoma

“Dear Dr Pratsou,

I am very grateful to you for your diagnosis, recommended treatment and advice. Your letter to my GP sets out both the course of events, and your own analysis of probable condition and possible cause, clearly summarising our discussion.

I hope there will be no recurrence but I will certainly come back to you if there is.”


Ryan, Skin rash

“Dear Tania,

Please pass on my thanks to Dr Pratsou. I saw her this morning for a mole check. She was so lovely and reassuring. Please also thank the two nurses who assisted her during the mole removal procedure. I was very nervous, but they were very efficient, which meant I did not have too long to think about it, but most of all they were very kind. They kept me distracted and calm, which made a huge difference. Thank you also for your efficiency in both booking me in so quickly.”


James, Mole removal
Dear Ms. Pratsou,

I am writing to thank you for the care you have given me in the past few months. From the moment I walked into your consulting room with a lesion on my cheek, a lesion that I fully expected to be some sort of skin cancer (and it was), you have been thorough, reassuring, respectful and in every way professional.

You recognised that I had some insight into the condition of my skin and the procedures required to treat me. You listened to me. You projected expertise and compassion.

During the procedure to remove the growth you ensured that the atmosphere in the treatment room remained not only calm, but actually pleasant. Had it not been that you were excising a growth and sewing me up, I almost felt as if you, me and the nurse were at some sort of women’s discussion group. The time flew by. I had zero anxieties about the procedure and as we both know now, the wound healed flawlessly.

Thank you for your expertise and your communication skills and all round good nature. I feel very lucky.


Karen Tatom, Skin cancer removal

We have replaced the images and names of real patients who provided these testimonials to protect their privacy.

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More information about viral warts

FOR THOSE WHO WANT THE DETAILS

Viral warts are benign warty bumps with a rough surface, commonly found on hands and feet.

They are caused by infection with benign strains of the Human papillomavirus (HPV). Though we consider them self-limiting, many people have persistent lesions that we can address through treatment.

Viral warts can affect any part of the body but commonly the hands and soles of the feet (called verrucas).

Viral warts may not cause any symptoms but if they on weight-bearing areas (for example, the soles of feet) they can be uncomfortable and painful.

If viral warts present in visible areas (for example, hands) they can cause embarrassment.

Viral warts are caused by infection with certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV).

Infection of top layers of the skin results in thickening of the skin and benign warty lesions.

Viral warts are most common in young children, people in contact with children and some people with a compromised immune system.

I examine the parts of the skin affected by viral warts. I often use a particular lens called a dermatoscope. I use this instrument to look for characteristic black dots (thrombosed capillaries) that we see classically in warts on hands and feet-verrucas.

No treatment is 100% effective on its own, so combining different treatment modalities can help achieve the highest chance of cure.

Regular (daily) filing and paring down of hard skin on the surface of warts, followed by applying a salicylic acid preparation on a daily basis can help.

I recommend frequent visits (every 2-4 weeks) for gentle freezing of warts (cryotherapy).

This approach helps in two ways, to try and get rid of the thickened skin but also cause some inflammation which alerts the immune system so that it tries to get rid of the virus.

Cryotherapy may be too uncomfortable for young children, but each case is different.

We can discuss all the available options during an initial consultation.

Some viral warts can resist the above treatments, and therefore we may need to consider other therapies.

These treatments generally consist of topical preparations such as topical retinoids, imiquimod cream or fluorouracil (efudix) cream.

“Are warts contagious?”

Viral warts occur as a result of contact with skin scales infected by some HPV viruses. Sometimes, they are in the surrounding area of public swimming pools and changing room floors.

They are, however, not highly contagious, and some people get them while others don’t. Your child is unlikely to pass them on to friends and loved ones through casual contact (for example, when touching hands).

“What is the best treatment option for your child’s warts?”

There are some treatments available, but none are foolproof. Therefore, I usually advise a combination of treatment techniques performed both in the clinic and at home to get the maximum benefit and the best results.

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Questions and answers

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About the author

Dr Penelope Pratsou | Consultant Dermatologist

MBChB, MRCP (UK) (Dermatology)

I’m Dr Penelope Pratsou, a skilled independent Consultant Dermatologist based in Berkshire. I have specialist expertise in the diagnosis and management of all skin cancers, and in performing mole checks. I’m a trained skin surgeon and remove skin cancers, moles, skin tags, cysts and warts.

I also have invaluable experience in dealing with all skin conditions, from the common skin complaints of acne, rosacea, eczema and psoriasis, to the rarer and more complex skin problems, having seen it all through years of NHS work.

After I obtained my Membership to the Royal College of Physicians, I undertook rigorous specialist training in dermatology, before being appointed as a Consultant Dermatologist at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading. There, I helped set up and lead a busy clinic for the diagnosis and treatment of suspected skin cancer. I was also actively involved in supervising and training both dermatology and GP trainees.

Alongside my increasingly busy private practice, I have maintained an NHS practice in Oxford in order to continue to engage with challenging cases and to develop my specialist interest in skin allergy.

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