Molluscum sounds like an animal, but it is a viral infection common among children. The medical term is Molluscum contagiosum. The virus results in small bumps that form on the skin. You can have anywhere from a couple of bumps to bumps all over the body. It is a virus that spreads through contact. They are not a serious health condition for most people, but if you notice molluscum, you should seek medical attention. There are those who are more susceptible to the infection than others. If you do contract molluscum infection, it will sometimes go away on its own, but there are other methods of treatment to help.
Molluscum contagiosum forms small, painless bumps on the skin. The bumps are harmless, but they will spread. The bumps are pink or flesh colored. The infection is most common in children between the ages of 3 and 5. The next age group that commonly has molluscum is those ages 19-40. Toddlers have a developing immune system. They are also good at touching things and putting things in their mouth. Molluscum can be on toys, towels, or almost anything. It is important to sanitize everything to make sure your child does not spread it to others or contract it again. Those between the ages of 19-40 typically contract molluscum through sexual contact. It is found more on the genitalia than just on the skin. Those with a weakened immune system or HIV are also susceptible to molluscum infection. Once molluscum creates bumps it causes symptoms and becomes very contagious.
The symptoms of molluscum contagiosum are mild. The bumps are an evident symptom of the infection. They are also itchy. They are not like chicken pox because they do not spread or itch as bad as chicken pox. The bumps also have a tiny indentation in the middle. The bumps are commonly found on the face, hands, armpits, and arms. In adults, these bumps may also be found on the genitals or the lower abdomen. Once you notice them, you should make an appointment with your physician.
There are many ways to contract molluscum and only a few risk factors. The most common way of contracting molluscum is contact. If you touch someone with molluscum, you will also contract it. Although the bumps are itchy, you should not scratch them because you will cause the infection to spread on your skin. Molluscum can also spread through inanimate objects. Towels, toys, knobs, and handles may also have molluscum. Unprotected sex is also a major form of contact. Coming in contact with a person that has molluscum infection will cause you to develop the infection as well. The two main risk factors are a weakened immune system and those with skin conditions. When your immune system is weak, you cannot fight off infections normally. You end up contracting things that would be fought off easily if your immune system was strong. Atopic dermatitis is another name for eczema. Eczema affects children and adults, but it is more common among children because it is sometimes harder to treat. The itching and inflammation of eczema make the skin susceptible to molluscum.
Treatment is available for molluscum infection. Sometimes treatment is not necessary because the bumps will go away on their own. When they do not go away, medication or bump removal is the next step. Topical creams are a common form of treatment. It can help with the itching as well as treat the bumps. Other medications come in more of a liquid form. They contain chemicals like salicylic acid that acid in dissolving the molluscum bumps. These medications have to be used consistently for at least six months. Some people are not interested in that and prefer surgical procedures. Molluscum bumps can be frozen, burned, or scraped off. This procedure is usually done in the office under local anesthesia. The good news about molluscum is that once it is treated, it is pretty much cured. The only way to get it again is coming back in contact with it.
There are many things you can do to protect yourself and your child from molluscum. Washing hands are the utmost importance. Make sure and your children wash their hands before eating or putting them in their mouth. This is very difficult for children, but it is necessary. Covering molluscum bumps is also important. By covering them, they will not be able to spread. If they are in the genital areas, you should avoid any sexual contact until they clear up. They say sharing is caring, but you should not share personal items like towels and things of that nature. Towels harbor infections, specifically ones that affect your skin.
Molluscum infection is very common but can be cured. Molluscum infection is hard for children to avoid because they put their hands on everything and do not wash their hands as much as adults do. If you notice molluscum bumps on your child, you should make an appointment with their physician. The condition is not life-threatening, but it is very contagious. If you treat the condition early, you minimize the risk of it spreading not only to other people but on your child’s toys and other things.
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