Molluscum contagiosum is a viral skin infection resulting in the formation of bumps on the face, arms, neck, legs, back, or abdomen. This chronic skin infection is caused by the Molluscum contagiosum virus, which is closely associated with the pox virus family. Molluscum contagiosum may last on the skin of an infected person from two months to four years. The bumps on the skin are usually painless and may not leave any scars if left untreated. Molluscum contagiosum infection is most common among children and older adults as they may have a weak immune system.
Causes of Molluscum contagiosum
Molluscum contagiosum is a highly contagious disease it can be easily transferred from an infected person to a healthy person. Molluscum contagiosum virus may spread from sharing of personal items such as towel, toys, or clothing. Molluscum contagiosum virus thrives on the skin of an infected person and can be passed on to another person through direct or indirect contact. Here are some risk factors that increase the chances of developing Molluscum contagiosum:
- People who have eczema
- People who engage in team sports
- People with weak immune system
- Children between the age of 1-10
- People living in humid areas
The symptoms of Molluscum contagiosum may not be visible for up to 6 months. The symptoms of Molluscum contagiosum can be more severe if a patient has a weak immune system. Some common symptoms of Molluscum contagiosum are:
Diagnosis of Molluscum contagiosum
- Bumps on the abdomen, face, arms, and legs
- Bumps filled with fluid
- Itchy boils
- Red or pink colored blisters
- Lesions measuring 2-5 millimeters in diameter
- Lumps around genital area and thighs
A dermatologist can diagnose Molluscum contagiosum simply by looking at the blisters. Sometimes dermatologists take the sample from the affected area by scratching the affected skin. The sample is further observed under a microscope to determine the possible cause and condition of infection. A patient should tell the doctor about their medical history and symptoms they have been experiencing. A dermatologist
may also order a blood test to check for other skin conditions that can cause symptoms of Molluscum contagiosum.
In most cases, the blisters formed due to Molluscum contagiosum fade away on its own. However, some of the cases with severe symptoms of Molluscum contagiosum require a medical treatment. If lesions occur on the face and neck and are as large as 15 millimeters in diameter, urgent treatment is required. The treatment of Molluscum contagiosum may include:
Prevention of Molluscum contagiosum
- Laser therapy to help reduce the size of the bumps by exposing them to a low intensity laser beam.
- Applying ointments containing certain acids to induce the drainage of blisters.
- Curettage procedure to scrape off the affected skin.
- Cryotherapy which involves the use of liquid nitrogen for freezing the each bump.
- Topical medicines such as Aldara and Tagamet to treat the Molluscum contagiosum in small children.
- Avoid sharing personal items such as soaps, towel, or hairbrush.
- Avoid scratching the affected area.
- Keep the blisters clean and covered.
- Avoid sexual contact with an infected person.
- Wash your hands after touching a blister.