Molluscum contagiosum: causes, symptoms, treatment and images

What is molluscum contagiosum?

Molluscum contagiosum is a skin infection caused by the virus. Molluscum contagiosum. It produces benign elevated protuberances, or lesions, in the upper layers of your skin.

The small bumps are usually painless. They disappear on their own and rarely leave scars when left untreated. The time the virus lasts varies for each person, but the bumps can last from two months to four years.

Molluscum contagiosum is transmitted by direct contact with someone who has it or by touching an object contaminated with the virus, such as a towel or an article of clothing.

There are medications and surgical treatments available, but treatment is not necessary in most cases. The virus can be harder to treat if you have a weakened immune system.

Photos of molluscum contagiosum


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What are the symptoms of molluscum contagiosum?

If you or your child comes in contact with M. contagiosum virus, you may not see symptoms of infection for up to six months. The average incubation period is between two and seven weeks.

You may notice the appearance of a small group of painless lesions. These potholes can appear alone or in a patch of up to 20 people. In general, they are:

  • Very small, bright and of smooth appearance.

  • flesh color, white or pink

  • Firm and domed with a dent or dimple in the middle

  • Filling with a central core of waxy material.

  • between 2 and 5 millimeters in diameter, or between the size of the head of a pin and the size of an eraser on top of a pencil

  • Present anywhere except on the palms of the hands or the soles of the feet, specifically on the face, abdomen, torso, arms and legs of children, or the inner thigh, genitals and abdomen of the adults.

However, if you have a weakened immune system, you may have symptoms that are more significant. Injuries can have a diameter of up to 15 millimeters, which is about the size of a dime. The bumps appear more frequently on the face and are usually resistant to treatment.

What are the causes of molluscum contagiosum?

You can catch molluscum contagiosum by touching the skin lesions of a person who has this infection. Children can transmit the virus during normal play with other children.

Adolescents and adults are more likely to contract it through sexual contact. You can also become infected during contact sports that involve touching bare skin, such as wrestling or soccer.

The virus can survive on surfaces that have been touched by the skin of a person with molluscum contagiosum. Therefore, it is possible to contract the virus by handling towels, clothing, toys or other items that have been contaminated.

Sharing the sports equipment that someone's bare skin has touched can also cause the transfer of this virus. The virus can remain on the computer to be transmitted to another person. This includes items such as baseball gloves, wrestling mats and football helmets.

If you have molluscum contagiosum, you can spread the infection throughout the body. You can transfer the virus from one part of your body to another by touching, scratching or shaving a blow and then touching another part of your body.

What are the risk factors for molluscum contagiosum?

Anyone can get molluscum contagiosum, but certain groups of people are more likely to get infected than others. These groups include:

  • Children between 1 and 10 years old.

  • people who live in tropical climates

  • people with weakened immune systems caused by factors such as organ transplants or cancer treatments

  • people who have atopic dermatitis, which is a common form of eczema that causes scaly and itchy rashes

  • people who participate in contact sports, such as wrestling or soccer, in which skin-to-skin contact is common.

How is molluscum contagiosum diagnosed?

Because the bumps on the skin caused by molluscum contagiosum have a different appearance, your doctor can often diagnose the infection by simply looking at the affected area. A skin scraping or a biopsy can confirm the diagnosis.

In general, it is not necessary to treat molluscum contagiosum, but you should always ask your doctor to examine skin lesions that last more than a few days. A confirmed diagnosis of molluscum contagiosum will rule out other causes of the lesions, such as skin cancer, chicken pox or warts.

How is molluscum contagiosum treated?

In most cases, if you have a healthy immune system, it will not be necessary to treat lesions caused by molluscum contagiosum. The protuberances will fade without medical intervention.

However, some circumstances may justify the treatment. You can be a candidate for treatment if:

  • His injuries are large and localized on his face and neck.

  • You have an existing skin disease, such as atopic dermatitis.

  • You have serious concerns about the spread of the virus.

The most effective treatments for molluscum contagiosum are performed by a doctor. These include cryotherapy, curettage, laser therapy and topical therapy:

  • During cryotherapy, the doctor freezes each hit with liquid nitrogen.

  • During the curettage, the doctor pierces the protrusion and scrapes the skin with a small tool.

  • During laser therapy, the doctor uses a laser to destroy each stroke.

  • During topical therapy, the doctor applies creams containing acids or chemicals to the bumps to induce flaking of the upper layers of the skin.

In some cases, these techniques can be painful and cause scarring. Anesthesia may also be necessary.

Since these methods involve treating each pothole, a procedure may require more than one session. If you have many large bumps, additional treatment may be necessary every three to six weeks until the bumps disappear. New potholes may appear when existing ones are treated.

In some cases, your doctor may prescribe the following medications:

  • trichloroacetic acid

  • Topical podophyllotoxin cream (Condylox)

  • Cantaridine (Cantharone), which is obtained from the blister beetle and applied by your doctor

  • imiquimod (aldara)

If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding, tell your doctor about your condition before taking these or any other medications.

If your immune system is weakened by a disease such as HIV or by medications such as those used to treat cancer, it may be necessary to treat molluscum contagiosum. Successful treatment is more difficult for people with weakened immune systems than for people with healthy immune systems.

Antiretroviral therapy is the most effective treatment for people with HIV if they contract molluscum contagiosum because it can work to strengthen the immune system to fight the virus.

It is important to talk with your doctor before attempting any treatment for molluscum contagiosum.

What is the long-term perspective for people with molluscum contagiosum?

A molluscum contagiosum infection will usually go away on its own if your immune system is healthy. Usually, this occurs gradually within 6 to 12 months and without leaving scars. However, for some, outbreaks can take anywhere from a few months to a few years to disappear. The infection may be more persistent and last longer in people with immune system problems.

Once the lesions fade, the M. contagiosum The virus is no longer present in your body. When this happens, you can not transmit the virus to other people or to other parts of your body. You will see more lumps only if you become infected again.

Unlike chickenpox, if you have had molluscum contagiosum once, you are not protected against infection again.

How can molluscum contagiosum be prevented?

The best way to prevent molluscum contagiosum is to avoid touching the skin of another person who has the infection. Following these suggestions can also help you prevent the spread of the infection:

  • Practice effective hand washing with warm water and soap.

  • Instruct children on proper handwashing techniques, as they are more likely to use touch in play and interaction with others.

  • Avoid sharing personal items. This includes towels, clothes, hair brushes or bar soaps.

  • Avoid using shared sports equipment that may have been in direct contact with the bare skin of another person.

  • Avoid touching or touching areas of your skin where there are lumps.

  • Keep packages clean and covered to prevent you or others from touching them and spreading the virus.

  • Avoid shaving or using electrolysis where the lumps are found.

  • Avoid sexual contact if you have protuberances in the genital area.

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