Are Warts on Kids Contagious?

Warts get a bad rap as “icky” or “gross” things no one wants to get near. Maybe this idea emerged from fairy tales where warts were found mostly on witches and toads. But really, warts are just a virus that causes a reaction in the skin. And yes, like other viruses, warts are contagious.

One goal with a wart—besides treating it so it goes away—is preventing the wart from spreading to different parts of the body or to other people. With kids, this can be a challenge, but we’ve got your back!  

5 Ways to Keep Warts on Kids from Spreading

  1. Cover the wart. The number one way you can prevent your child’s wart from spreading is to keep it covered. Cover with a bandage or patch that’s included with the treatment, or use a waterproof bandage or athletic tape of your own over the wart. Our Compound W® One Step Strips For Kids make wart care in kids easy—the medicated bandages treat and cover the wart in one step!

  2. No scratching, picking or touching. This can be hard with kids, so first explain to them why it’s so important to keep the wart covered. Then, make sure they know not to pick at the wart. If they scratch or pick at the wart, they could easily spread the virus to other parts of their body or to someone else.
  3. Wash hands after touching or treating your child’s wart. The person applying treatment to the wart should wash their hands afterward. Anytime your child touches the wart, they should wash their hands too. Chances are they will accidentally touch or pick at the wart out of habit, so tell them, if they do, they need to wash their hands well immediately after.
  4. Limit exposure to moist environments. The HPV virus that causes warts thrives in moist environments. This is why shared bathrooms, showers and locker rooms are often likely places of transmission. Wearing flip-flops in the locker room helps keep a person with a wart on the foot from spreading the virus, as others wearing flip-flops instead of walking barefoot helps protect them from catching the virus. Keep the area around the wart dry, or as dry as possible, especially if the wart is on a foot. This may mean wearing sandals or flip-flops more often and changing socks after they get sweaty.
  5. Do not share towels, sports equipment, nail clippers, etc. This rule applies at home, at school and in after-school activities. If your child has a wart on their finger or hand and dries their hands on a towel or shares a baseball glove with a friend or sibling, whoever uses that towel or glove next could end up with a wart as well.

Keep in mind, the virus typically enters through a small skin break or wound, which you might not even realize is there. Just touching the wart or sharing a towel may not spread the wart if you do not have any wounds or skin openings or if you have a strong immune system, but you want to take every precaution to try and prevent the wart from spreading.

Compound W® Wart Treatment for Kids

Our Compound W® One Step Strips For Kids make it easy—and even fun—to keep your child’s wart covered. These medicated bandages, which treat and cover the wart, are waterproof and come in a kid-friendly design that they will not mind wearing.

We also have a new cryotherapy-based product for kids ages 4 and up—Compound W® Freeze-OffTM for Kids. This wart treatment is specifically made for kids and contains our unique AccuFreeze™ wart removal system that targets the wart while helping protect healthy skin from irritation or damage. To make application easy, we include SKIN SHIELD™ discs that you place around the wart during application to help protect your child’s delicate skin. Once the freezing application is done, you can place a soft bandage (non-medicated) of your choice over the wart to keep it from spreading.

Be sure to use these products as directed.