- What is Molluscum Contagiosum?
- Molluscum Contagiosum Symptoms
- Molluscum Contagiosum Causes
- Molluscum Contagiosum Treatment
- Molluscum Contagiosum Prevention
What is Molluscum Contagiosum?
This is a normally common viral infection on the skin that more often disturbs children. It causes firm bumps known as papules which are painless and which normally disappear within a year with no treatment. If these papules are injured or scratched, this infection may spread to the surrounding skin.
Most common in children, this infection can also affect adults. With adults, molluscum contagiosum involves genitals and is referred to as a sexually transmitted disease or STD. This disorder can also be seen in those adults who have compromised immune systems.
Mollunscum contagiosum spreads by direct human-to-human contact and thru contact with objects which are contaminated. Since it spreads easily, physicians usually recommend medical therapy especially for adults.
Molluscum Contagiosum Symptoms
Molluscum contagiosum causes raised, round, flesh-colored bumps or papules on the skin. These papules:
- Are small – normally approximately 2 to 5 mmm in diameter
- Typically have an indentation or small dot on the top
- May become inflamed and red
- May be removed easily by rubbing or scratching but this can spread the virus to skin which is adjacent
In children, these papules normally appear on the neck, face, hands, armpits as well as hands. In adults, molluscum contagiosum can be a STD or sexually transmitted disease and is normally seen on the lower abdomen, inner thighs, buttocks as well as the genitals.
This condition does not lead to any serious illness and is not related to genital warts, that is caused by HPV or the human papillomavirus. But, adults will genital molluscum contagiosum need to be screened for other STDs.
If an individual believe that they or their child have molluscum contagiosum, the family doctor should be consulted. Physicians may diagnose the infection by an examination of the papule.
Molluscum Contagiosum Causes
This skin condition is caused from an infection by the virus molluscum contagiosum – a member of the family poxvirus.
This virus is spread easily thru:
- Direct contact skin-to-skin
- Sexual contact with infected partner
- Contact with objects that are contaminated, such as doorknobs, toys as well as faucet handles
- Rubbing or scratching the papules spreads this virus to skin that is nearby, as can shaving
Since molluscum contagiosum is spread by skin-to-skin contact, individuals who are noninfected can be at a risk of contracting this virus thru any activities which put them in contact with objects that are contaminated or with individuals who are infected.
Those individuals with immune systems which are weakened are also at risk of developing lesions which are more severe from this virus.
The lesions and the skin surround them can become inflamed and red, which is a condition that is referred to as molluscum dermatitis. This is believed to actually be an immune response to this infection.
Often the lesions can be itchy and, if scratched, can become infected. Lesions appearing on the eyelids can cause conjunctivitis to develop.
Molluscum Contagiosum Treatment
Molluscum contagiosum is normally diagnosed thru the characteristic appearance of flesh-colored or pearly bumps on the areas of the skin which are affected. If there is doubt, the physician can take scrapings of the skin from the area which is infected and be viewed under a microscope. The infection may occur anywhere on the body except the palms of the hands or the soles of the feet. With children, infections normally appear on the body, face, arms and legs. In adults, infections can also develop in the genital area. In these cases the infection is referred to as an STD.
For individuals with an immune system that is normal, molluscum contagiosum normally resolves with no treatment within six to twelve months, although it may in some cases require years to entirely disappear. It can take even more time for this disorder to fade in those children with immune systems that are not completely matured and in adults who have immune systems which are compromised.
Since molluscum contagiosum easily spreads, physicians often suggest medical treatment particularly for adults. Therapy for molluscum contagiosum can include the exclusion of the papules by:
- Laser therapy
- Scraping referred to as curettage
- Freezing referred to as cryotherapy
These therapies may be painful, so normally a topical anesthetic may be prescribed to use before these techniques to reduce any distress.
Topical medicines that are normally used to eliminate warts as well as to treat psoriasis and acne also can be an aid in eliminating the papules. Often a combination of these therapies will be used.
Even though molluscum contagiosum normally does not cause any itching some individuals do develop eczema or dermatitis surrounding the papules. Therapy for itching caused by dermatitis can include over-the-counter 1% hydrocortisone ointments or creams, or prescription topical steroids. But, these drugs should be used only on the areas of dermatitis and not to the papules caused by molluscum contagiosum.
This disorder can be advanced and more extensive for those individuals who already suffer with other skin disorders, for instance atopic eczema, or for individuals with immune systems which are weakened, such as individuals with AIDS or HIV. These individuals with immune systems that are weakened need to seek out professional management for molluscum contagiosum.
Some of the treatments which are found on the web assert to clear quickly molluscum contagiosum infections, but, no medications which have been researched in laborious clinical trials have revealed to be nominal in dissipating the virus, so these internet products cannot be all that effective.
In addition, ask your physician before using any skin treatments or any dietary enhancements – particularly if you suffer with eczema – to make certain they will not interrelate with any other drugs or treatments you are using.
Molluscum Contagiosum Prevention
To aid the prevention of the spread of this virus:
- Hand washing – Keeping hands clean will help stop the spreading of the virus.
- Do not let other individuals use your items which are personal. This includes towels, clothing, hairbrushes or other items. Don’t borrow these items from others as well.
- Avoid rubbing, scratching or touching the papules. Shaving over these areas of infection also can spread this virus.
- Avoid any sexual contact till papules are treated and have totally been resolved.
- Cover these papules if there is a probability of another individual coming in contact with the skin which is infected.