Warts (verruca vulgaris) are hard, rough bumps that grow on the skin. They typically appear on the feet and hands.

Warts are caused by a common skin virus. Most people are exposed to the virus at one time or another.

Warts may disappear by themselves over several months or years. However, because the warts may spread, it is a good idea to see a physician. The doctor can accurately diagnose the warts, and together, you can choose a plan for treatment.

There are several methods for treating warts. One common method of treatment is freezing of the warts (cryotherapy) to remove them. A very cold substance called liquid nitrogen is used with this treatment.

After this treatment your child may develop a blister which may contain clear fluid or blood. If this occurs, drain the blister with a sterile needle. To make the needle sterile, hold the tip of the needle into a flame (from a match, lighter, or the flame of a gas-stove burner). After the needle cools, gently “pop” the blister leaving the top intact, releasing the blood or fluid. This process should not hurt because the skin on top of the blister is dead.

After the blister is drained, clean the area gently with warm soapy water and gently dry. Keep the area covered with an adhesive bandage (Band-Aid) and a small amount of antibiotic ointment until the area is healed. It is preferred that you use Polysporin or Triple Antibiotic Bacitracin instead of Neosporin.

The doctor may ask you to treat the warts at home between freezings with an over-the-counter wart medication containing salicylic acid in a liquid, patch or stick form.