Molluscum contagiosum (MC) is a viral infection caused by a poxvirus. Although it is not dangerous, it is very contagious. It is a skin condition commonly seen in young children, arising from direct or indirect skin contact with other infected individuals. Adults can also acquire MC, although it is rarer. Adults more often present with MC bumps in the genital area from skin contact during sexual activity.
What does Molluscum Contagiosum look like?
MC appears as small raised dome-shaped bumps about 2 to 5 millimeters in diameter. They are usually white, pink, or flesh colored and contain a small pit or dimple in the center. They are sometimes mistaken for pimples or warts. MC lesions are painless but can itch. Some spots can become red, swollen, or crusted. They can occur virtually anywhere on the body, except for the palms and soles.
Is Molluscum Contagiosum contagious?
As the name subtly implies, yes it is very contagious. People can become infected by direct skin to skin contact with someone who is infected, or through skin contact with contaminated objects like toys, towels, or clothing. MC bumps can be spread to other parts of the body by scratching or touching existing bumps.
What are the treatment options for Molluscum Contagiosum?
With a normally functioning immune system many MC lesions will resolve within 6-12 months without treatment. However, because these lesions are contagious, it is important to address them quickly when possible to prevent further spread or spreading them to other individuals:
- The first and most important step to take in treatment of MC is to practice good skin hygiene to prevent further spread.
- Avoid touching MC bumps, keeping them covered with a bandage or other items when possible.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after touching any molluscum bumps on yourself or your child. Children with MC should avoid sharing a bath with others.
- Avoid sharing personal items that have been in direct skin contact like bars of soap, towels, and clothing.
- Be aware of activities that involve skin to skin contacts like contact sports. Keeping the infected area covered and avoiding using shared gear can help prevent spread.
- If MC bumps are present in the genital area, avoid sexual activity that would result in skin to skin contact. Avoid shaving over these areas, as this can spread the virus.
There are certain options to expedite the removal of MC bumps:
- Removing the lesions with cryotherapy or curetting.
- Oral cimetidine, an antihistamine, to help facilitate the body’s immune system to eliminate the virus.
- Topical medications like adapalene or tretinoin applied on a regular basis to the MC lesions.
Schedule an appointment with Dr. Schuering today to cater therapeutic options best for you.