Are you or your children experiencing rashes, bumps, or growths with blisters after using public baths or swimming in public pools? Are these skin infections taking too long to go away?
You could have molluscum contagiosum. If you are healthy, this skin infection can go away in a few months. If your immune system is weak, however, you could experience a more severe form of the virus.
*Molluscum Contagiosum is also called water warts.
What Is Molluscum Contagiosum and What Are the Stages of the Disorder?
Molluscum contagiosum is a common yet irritating skin infection caused by molluscum contagiosum virus (MCV). MCV is part of the poxvirus family. It is very contagious and can be easily transmitted through direct contact with an infected person’s skin.
MCV also can be spread through sexual contact. This infection develops in stages and when infected, you may not see the symptoms for up to six months. However, the appearance of skin lesions after initial exposure to the virus normally takes between two and seven weeks.
Molluscum contagiosum symptoms include bumps on the skin that are:
- Very tiny, shiny, and smooth
- Flesh-colored, pink, or white
- Firm and dome-shaped with a dent in the middle
- 2-5 millimetres in diameter
- Filled with a central core of waxy substance
- Present on virtually every part of the body, including the genitals and abdomen, except on the soles of your feet and the palms of your hands.
Molluscum contagiosum is classified as an STD when it affects the genitals. The virus stops being contagious when all of the lesions have gone away. Unlike the herpes virus (HPV), MCV doesn’t remain dormant in your body once molluscum warts have disappeared.
Does Molluscum Contagiosum Affect Kids or Adults?
Molluscum contagiosum largely affects children. However, it can affect anyone regardless of age. It’s worth noting that some groups of people are more vulnerable to the virus than others. They include:
- Children aged between 1 and 10 years
- Individuals with weakened immune systems caused by other health conditions
- People who live in tropical climates
- People suffering from atopic dermatitis
- Athletes participating in contact sports like football and wrestling
How to Treat Molluscum Contagiosum
Molluscum contagiosum treatment is normally not necessary as the infection goes away by itself in time. If you want to remedy the problem, however, you can visit your dermatologist who will recommend appropriate treatment.
There are several treatments available, including:
- Medications – Your doctor may prescribe medications, such as salicylic acid, for regular applications to help the skin lesions disappear.
- Cryotherapy – A solution of liquid nitrogen is applied to the bumps, which freezes them off. This treatment can be painful and hence not always recommended.
- Scraping – The bumps are removed surgically. It can be painful and scars could be left on your body after the procedure.
You can avoid getting molluscum contagiosum by following these tips:
- Avoid direct contact with a person you think is infected
- Disinfect things that you share with an infected individual
- Treat underlying eczema as it may predispose you to molluscum contagiosum
- Abstain from sex or be sure that your partner is uninfected
- Fight the urge to scratch
- Avoid shaving the areas with the lesions as it will only spread the virus