Kids can pick up HPV — and get warts — from touching anything someone with a wart has used, like towels and surfaces. Kids who bite their fingernails or pick at hangnails are at risk for warts because they expose less-protected skin and create open areas for a virus to enter and cause the wart.
Abstinence from sexual activity can prevent the spread of that are transmitted via sexual contact. A person who abstains from sex may still become infected with other HPV types, such as those that cause common skin warts. Some researchers have postulated that HPV infection might be transmitted from the mother to her infant at the time of delivery because some studies have identified genital HPV infection in populations of young children and cloistered nuns. Hand-genital and oral-genital transmission of HPV has also been documented and is another means of transmission.
Intra-anal warts should be managed in consultation with a specialist. Many persons with warts on the anal mucosa also have warts on the rectal mucosa, so persons with anal and/or intra-anal warts might benefit from an inspection of the rectal mucosa by digital examination, standard anoscopy, or high-resolution anoscopy.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Press Release: CDC recommends only two HPV shots for younger adolescents. Updated October 20, 2016. CDC.gov Web site. www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p1020-hpv-shots.html. Accessed December 2, 2016.
It has been reported that warts can be treated by covering them with duct (duck) tape or other nonporous tape, such as electrical tape. This treatment requires that the tape must be left in place all the time and removed only a few hours once per week. The tape must be replaced frequently. Many are of the opinion that this is no better than a placebo, based on published studies.
It’s also wise to have kids wear waterproof sandals or flip-flops in public showers, locker rooms, and around public pools (this can help protect against plantar warts and other infections, like athlete’s foot).
Freezing with liquid nitrogen (cryotherapy). Freezing works by causing a blister to form around your wart. As your skin heals, the lesions slough off, allowing new skin to appear. You may need repeated cryotherapy treatments. The main side effects include pain and swelling.
Genital warts normally occur at specific anatomic locations. In men, the warts are typically seen under the foreskin of an uncircumcised penis, on the penis, shaft, scrotum, and testicles. They can also infect the urethra, and rectal area. Warts, in more than one location, is common.
Bonnez W. Papillomaviruses. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett’s Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases, Updated Edition. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 146.
Your doctor may freeze your wart with liquid nitrogen. This can be a bit painful, but usually works well. More than one treatment may be required. Freezing causes a blister to form under and around your wart. This lifts the wart away from the skin within about a week.
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Cryotherapy, which uses a very cold liquid to freeze a wart, is the most commonly used procedure that doesn’t involve medicine to treat warts. This procedure poses little risk of scarring but can be painful.