First Aid: Warts

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First Aid

Warts are common skin infections that can affect any area of the body, but tend to occur on the fingers, hands, elbows, and bottom of the feet. Warts generally don't cause serious problems, so they may not need to be removed.

There are several types of warts, including common warts, flat warts, and plantar warts.

Signs and Symptoms

Of a common wart include:

  • located on back of hands, around nails, and in the mouth, or at the site of cuts and scratches
  • a small flesh-colored bump
  • a rough surface that looks like cauliflower
  • pink or white soft bumps in the mouth
  • tiny black dots inside the wart

Of a flat wart include:

  • located on the face, neck, arms, or legs
  • small smooth bumps with a flat top
  • flesh-colored or pink to light brown
  • may occur in groups of 20 to 100

Of a plantar wart include:

  • located on the sole of the foot
  • pressed into the skin
  • tiny black dots inside
  • may be painful

What to Do

Without treatment, it can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years for a wart to go away. Ask a doctor to recommend wart removal treatments.

Seek Medical Care


  • a young child or infant has a wart anywhere on the body
  • the wart is on the face, genitals, or rectum
  • the wart becomes painful or red
  • the wart is swollen, bleeding, or oozing pus

Think Prevention!

Although there's no way to prevent warts, it's always a good idea to encourage kids to wash their hands and skin often. If your child has a cut or scratch, use soap and water to clean the area because open wounds are more likely to develop warts and other infections. If a wart develops, make sure your child doesn't scratch the area.

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: April 2014

Related Resources

OrganizationCenters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) The CDC (the national public health institute of the United States) promotes health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability.

Related Articles

Molluscum Contagiosum Molluscum contagiosum is a common wart-like viral skin infection. For most children, the rash is no big deal and goes away on its own over time.
Your Child's Immunizations: Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Find out when and why your child needs to get this vaccine.
Warts Many of us have had a wart somewhere on our bodies at some time. But other than being a nuisance, most warts are harmless.
Genital Warts Genital warts, contracted through sexual contact, are caused by certain types of the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is one of the most common STDs.

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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