What is a Wart?

You’ve likely either had one yourself or know somebody who has. While anybody can get warts, kids tend to get them more often, possibly because their immune systems are still maturing.

Warts are small hard bumps on the skin that are caused by a common virus called the human papilloma virus. Because the virus enters the skin through small scratches or cuts, areas such as the hands, feet, elbows, and knees tend to be common locations. Kids who picks at hangnails or cuticles may be more likely to get warts. In addition, sharing towels with someone who has a wart can also spread the virus.

The good news is that warts are usually not harmful beyond causing bumps on the skin. Left alone, the warts are often cleared by our body’s immune systems. However, on occasion, warts can cause pain or grow to be large; sometimes children may be embarrassed by the wart’s appearance. In these situations, a dermatologist can discuss treatment options including medications to apply at home as well as office-based procedures such as freezing, injections, and laser treatment.

Inez Soukoulis, MD

A Little Wart Trivia:

Verruca, derived from Latin, is the medical name for a wart.  The spirited, strong-willed little girl in Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was named Veruca Salt by author Roald Dahl after a wart medicine found in his medicine cabinet.  An alternative rock band in the ’90s named themselves Veruca Salt after this character, as has a boutique chocolatier in Chicago.