Molluscum contagiosum is fairly common and spreads readily from person to person. It is a benign viral infection that’s most common in children but can affect adults as well.
Molluscum contagiosum usually presents as small, round, and firm bumps. They can appear anywhere, even the genitals (in which case, it may be considered a sexually transmitted infection).
If the bumps are scratched or injured, the infection can spread to your surrounding skin. They may also spread via shared towels, shared pool equipment, toys, and bath sponges. Transmission can also occur with skin-to-skin contact.
What are the symptoms of molluscum contagiosum?
The bumps associated with molluscum contagiosum are painless and can be as small as a pinhead or as large as a pencil eraser.
The flesh-colored bumps usually create clusters of 10 to 20 lesions, but those who have compromised immune systems may develop many more.
When scratched or rubbed (as with clothing), the bumps can become sore, itchy, red, and swollen.
How is molluscum contagiosum treated?
Without treatment, the bumps usually resolve within a year but may cause mild scarring. In some cases, molluscum contagiosum can persist for up to five years.
As long as molluscum persists, they remain contagious. This is why it is important to seek medical treatment at Associated Dermatologists. Without it, you can easily spread the virus.
Treatment for molluscum contagiosum includes scraping away the bumps, cryotherapy (or freezing them away with liquid nitrogen), and using topical medication to lift off the bumps. Prior to any treatment, your provider applies a topical anesthetic to minimize discomfort.
You should never try to remove the bumps yourself. You may cause them to spread or spur an infection.
How do I prevent molluscum contagiosum?
Good cleanliness habits like washing your hands regularly are the best way to avoid the infection. If you do develop the growths, don’t scratch or pick at them.
Keep molluscum contagiosum covered, especially if you enter a pool or public place. A watertight bandage or clothing suffices.
Avoid contact sports, like wrestling or football, if you have molluscum contagiosum and can’t adequately cover the lesions. Do not share equipment like helmets, swim goggles, and baseball gloves to minimize spread.
If you’re concerned you or your child have molluscum contagiosum, call Associated Dermatologists or schedule an appointment online today.