The start of school tends to correlate to an increase in the spread of cutaneous warts (verrucae). According to the National Verruca Foundation

(NVF), many students and parents are not prepared for the possibility of contracting warts at this time of year.

“Returning to the classroom typically brings an increase in the spread of various bacteria and viruses, and cutaneous warts is no exception,” stated dermatologist Alan E. Lasser, MD, Executive Director of the NVF. “Through increased education and awareness, we hope to decrease many cases of warts.” Keep in mind these five tips:

1. Wash hands often and well

2. Cover cuts and scrapes. Injured skin is more vulnerable to the wart virus.

3. Avoid biting nails or picking at hang-nails.

4. Keep warts covered. Use a bandage or film-forming medicine.

5. Don’t touch or pick at any warts.

Children are at the highest risk of getting cutaneous warts with as many as 22 percent of children contracting them sometime during their childhood. People with weakened or less-mature immune systems are more prone to warts. There is no vaccine for non-genital warts but avoiding them is possible for many people.

Warts can be more than a nuisance; they are highly contagious, embarrassing, and can be painful when they appear on pressure points of the body such as the bottom of the feet or on the hands. Plantar (foot) warts affect about 4.5 percent of the population.

Learning resources for clinicians, individuals, and community members about warts are available at

>>National Verruca Foundation
>>Silverberg NB. Human papillomavirus infections in children. Curr Opin Pediatr. 2004;16:402-409

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