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Although molluscum contagiosum is a common viral infection of the skin, many are not aware of the condition nor have they even heard of it. Most commonly found in children, but can still affect adults, the infection known as molluscum contagiosum results in painless bumps that are round in shape.
This specific viral infection causes a mild case of a rash that appears on the skin. The infection occurs more commonly in children aged between 1 and 12 years but can also be found in teenagers and adults, those with low immune systems, and/or athletes (specifically swimmers, gymnasts, and wrestlers).
The virus tends to spread through skin-to-skin contact, which is important for parents to keep in mind if their child becomes infected with the virus. Touching an object or cloth, especially towels, which have the virus on it, can also spread the virus. The rash can spread from one part of the body to another and can also be spread from person to person. The infection will remain contagious until all of the bumps are completely gone.
To avoid molluscom contagiosum from spreading and worsening it is important to not share towels or clothing, avoid shaving if the bumps are on an area where one usually shaves, do not scratch and if the bumps are found in the genital area one must avoid sexual contact to prevent spreading. Once exposed to the virus, the bumps will generally appear in 2 to 7 weeks but can take up to 6 months for some.
Diagnoses and Treatment
A doctor will do a physical exam on an individual who appears to have skin bumps and may even take a skin sample from the bump in order to be able to do testing. Although it may take anywhere from 2 to 4 months to run its course, many healthy individuals will need no treatment at all because the body’s immune system will fight the virus. However, many are uncomfortable with the appearance of the bumps or are worried about spreading the virus to other parts of the body or to others so may wish to have the bumps removed.
Treatment generally consists of freezing the bumps, using a liquid or cream, chemicals such as cantharidin or potassium hydrochloride, and also scraping the bumps off which is known as curettage. It is important to remember that many products can irritate the skin or lead to scarring so it is crucial to discuss options with your medical professional.
The skin infection known as molluscum contagiosum will cause a rash in a form of small flesh-colored bumps on the skin. Generally, the bumps can be clear with an indented center. The bumps themselves are usually small in size and do not cause any pain. The rash (bumps) can appear in a group or cluster of bumps or singularly and are usually found on the face, trunk, or even in the genital region. Once the body begins to fight off the virus, the bumps may become inflamed and/or turn slightly red.
Below are several photos that depict what a molluscum contagiosum outbreak may look like on the skin.