There are many kinds of skin conditions, but none may be as misunderstood as molluscum contagiosum. While the virus is benign, the small, round, firm bumps all over the skin can cause alarm, especially when you see it on your child. Although this is a common childhood virus, many parents know little about it. Below are some important things to know.
What Is Molluscum Contagiosum?
Molluscum contagiosum is a common disease of childhood. The disease also occurs in healthy adolescents and adults, often as a participation in contact sports. Molluscum is a viral infection caused by a virus called poxvirus. The poxvirus is in the same family as smallpox. The virus causes a chronic, localized infection, consisting of flesh-colored, dome-shaped bumps on the skin of an infected individual. These virus stays in the body different amounts of time for different people, but the bumps can last for months or years.
Molluscum Contagiosum Causes
Molluscum contagiosum is spread by direct skin-to-skin contact and can occur anywhere on the body. The virus can be transmitted from one part of the body to another by scratching or touching a bump. For example, if the bumps develop on your face, shaving may spread the virus. Infection can also be spread on bath sponges or towels or through skin contact, during participation in contact sports, for instance. If you or your child has been in contact with the virus it can take from two to seven weeks before you may see symptoms.
Molluscum Contagiosum Treatment
Treatment is usually with liquid nitrogen or a chemical called cantharidin. However, treatment is most often unnecessary if you have a health immune system. The bumps will fade. Treatment is usually necessary if you have the following:
- Lesions are large and located on your face and neck
- An existing skin disease such as atopic dermatitis
- Serious concerns about spreading the virus
A successful treatment of the virus includes limit spreading to other sites on the body, reducing the risk of transmission to others, stopping the severe itching when present, and the prevention of scarring that can result from bumps that become inflamed, traumatized, or secondarily infected.
If the bumps last longer than a few days, a doctor should examine the molluscum bumps. At Advanced Dermatology care, dermatologists specialize in all skin care needs in general medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatology including skin cancer, acne, eczema, warts, moles, fungal nail infections, rashes and scars. Our offices are located in the Fairfield County, CT towns of Danbury, Norwalk and Ridgefield.