Home | Pediatric Dermatology | Molluscum Contagiosum

What is Molluscum Contagiosum?

Molluscum contagiosum is a viral infection of the skin that causes firm, round, painless bumps to appear on the skin. Though it is most common in children, it can affect adults as well. The virus that causes this condition is spread easily through skin-to-skin contact or contaminated objects.

Common signs and symptoms of molluscum contagiosum include:

  • Round, raised, skin-colored bumps
  • Bumps usually have a small indentation/hole near the center
  • May be itchy
  • Can become red and inflamed
  • Bumps usually appear on the face, neck, armpits, arms, and tops of the hands in children

Who is a Good Candidate for Molluscum Contagiosum Treatment?

If your child has a weakened immune system, they may be at a greater risk for molluscum contagiosum and may require treatment. Children with this condition whose bumps do not go away or are bothersome can also benefit from treatment. The best way to determine which treatment option is best is to schedule a consultation with one of our dermatologists.

What to Expect During Molluscum Contagiosum Treatment?

In most cases, molluscum contagiosum bumps will fade away on their own within 6-12 months. Once the bumps fade, the virus is no longer present in the body, and the virus can no longer be spread to others. Many parents choose to have their child’s molluscum treated to prevent further spread, decrease irritation, and improve the skin’s appearance. Treatment options include:

  • Cryotherapy: Liquid nitrogen is used to freeze away each bump.
  • Curettage: The dermatologist will pierce each bump and scrape it off the skin using a special tool called a curette.
  • In-office Topical therapy: Cantharidin (commonly referred to as beetle juice) can be applied by the provider in a quick and painless office visit.
  • Topical Agents for at Home: Tretinoin, benzoyl peroxide, and imiquimod may be used for resistant molluscum or for children that cannot tolerate destructive measures.

Molluscum Contagiosum FAQs

Are baths bad for molluscum?

The virus that causes molluscum contagiosum is highly contagious and can spread through bathwater and drying off with a towel.

Can a child get molluscum twice?

Yes, children can get infected with the virus that causes molluscum even after having it previously.

Can healthy adults get molluscum?

Yes, although the condition is more common in children, adults can contract the virus just as easily.

Can I remove molluscum myself?

No. There are at-home treatments for molluscum contagiosum, but these should be prescribed for you by a dermatologist. Molluscum bumps fade with time but can still be contagious until they are completely gone.

Can molluscum contagiosum be cured?

Yes, there are several treatment options for molluscum contagiosum to remove the appearance of bumps and reduce the spread of the virus.

Following Molluscum Contagiosum Treatment

Because treatment methods involve treating each bump individually, more than one treatment session may be needed. If numerous lesions are present, additional treatment may also be needed every 3-6 weeks until the bumps disappear.

In order to prevent molluscum contagiosum in the future, it is important to:

  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap
  • Avoid sharing personal items such as clothing, towels, hairbrushes, or soap
  • Avoiding sharing sports gear
  • Do not pick or touch areas of the skin with molluscum contagiosum
  • If bumps are present, keep them clean and covered to prevent spreading the virus

Schedule a Consultation

If you are concerned regarding your child’s molluscum contagiosum, do not hesitate to contact our office today! Our team will help you schedule your consultation appointment with one of our dermatology providers, which is the first step toward treatment.

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