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What are germs? What's the difference between a bacteria and virus? How are germs spread? How can germs be eliminated? We're glad you asked. Find all this and more.

Human papillomavirus (HPV)

Germ type: virus

There are many types of HPV infections. Among children, it's common for the HPV virus to cause warts. While they can be found anywhere, they are especially common around cuts, scratches and bitten fingernails. Warts are very contagious. Some go away on their own; if it is bothersome or painful, it can be treated by your healthcare provider.

  • Spread via: Surface-to-hand contact, such as touching a towel or table that was touched by someone with a wart.
  • Prevention: Handwashing can help prevent the spread of common warts in children; have your child pay particular attention to cuts and skin irritation when washing. In addition, clean and disinfect commonly-touched surfaces frequently. To limit exposure to plantar's warts (on the bottom of the feet), encourage your child to wear beach shoes or flip flops when visiting public pools or showers.

Other types of HPV include low-risk HPV infections that can cause genital warts, or high-risk HPV infections that can lead to cervical cancer. For more on genital HPV, visit www.cdc.gov/hpv/WhatIsHPV.html.