What Are Molluscum Contangiosum?
Molluscum are a small pearly or flesh colored bumps with depressed centers that appear on the skin. They arise from an infection with the Molluscum Contagiosum Pox Virus. “These bumps can appear in groups over the body, or can be singular and solitary,” says Dr. Adam Mamelak, a board certified Dermatologist at Sanova Dermatology in Austin, Texas. These bumps are not usually painful, but can develop in itchy areas affected by eczema. Common areas to get these bumps include the face, trunk, legs, and the genital area.
How Do You Get Them?
“The most common way that these are passed is through skin-to-skin contact,” notes Dr. Mamelak. They are commonly seen in children, particularly those in daycare programs, who tend to be among the most susceptible to this condition. In fact, Molluscum are commonly treated in pediatric dermatology clinics. Still, teens and adults are not immune to molluscum. “In older patients, these are often passed through sex, or other physical activities.”
This virus can get in and spread through breaks int he skin. Patients with eczema or other conditions that cause itching might notice that new Molluscum lesions start appearing in other areas on their bodies for this reason.
How Do You Avoid Them?
Avoiding physical contact with infected individuals is the best way to decrease your chances of catching Mulloscum. “Children that share towels or bath together are common scenarios where the virus can be passed on,” explains Dr. Mamelak. Those who do have them can try a few tactics in order to prevent passing it on to others. “Covering the bumps with clothing and not exposing the affected skin will limit contact, and helps to avoid scratching the bumps. This in turn prevents sharing the virus that might be on your hands or under your fingernails.” You should avoid shaving in areas infected with molluscum. This will prevent exacerbating the bumps and further spreading them. Controlling the eczema or other dermatologic condition can also significantly help limit the spread of this virus.
How Are They Treated?
Like other viruses, Molluscum can go away on their own. This can take a significant amount of time however, typically anywhere from 2 to 6 months or more to fully resolve. During this time, The virus is contagious and can be passed onto others. This is often the reason individuals seek treatment. Treatment options include curetting the lesions, freezing them with cryotherapy, or using a wart peel like cantharadin.