In Dermatology

New survey results show that over half of mums (56 per cent) have never heard of the term ‘water warts’ despite them affecting between five to 11 per cent of children aged 16 years and under.

The condition affects a similar number of people as well-known common childhood conditions: impetigo, scabies, and ringworm, but new data from over 500 UK mums of children aged two to 14 highlight the misconceptions and misunderstandings surrounding this common condition. The survey revealed that fewer than two-in-five mums (39 per cent) could correctly identify the symptoms of water warts and over half (56 per cent) didn’t know or underestimated how many children it affects.

Water warts are a skin condition most common in childhood characterised by raised spots which can look like small pearls under the skin. Often mistaken for eczema or insect bites, they can be itchy and last up to 18 months without treatment, causing the child discomfort and embarrassment. Evidence suggests that over 11 per cent of children will experience a severe impact on quality of life as a result of water warts.

They are contagious, but only 44 per cent of mums knew that they can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact. Even fewer mums (36 per cent) knew that they could be transmitted through sharing items such as toys, towels and bedding.

The survey revealed that many mums didn’t realise quite how long water warts can last. Over half of mums (51 per cent) assumed that they would clear up within three months. One-in-10 thought that they would be gone in under two weeks.

Most mums visit their pharmacist or GP when their child contracts water warts: 85 per cent of mums whose children had experienced water warts had sought advice in this way.

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