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Molluscum contagiosum: symptoms and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on
Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum is an infectious skin disease most common in children and affects both genders equally. This condition is caused by a virus from the poxvirus family, which can be present almost anywhere. The contagion is carried out by direct contact with the virus when someone touches an object or injury contaminated with the microorganism. However, there are many cases in which people who carry the virus do not present any symptoms of molluscum contagiosum.

This virus can also be transmitted through sexual intercourse, and when it occurs, it is often confused with herpes or genital warts. However, towels, clothing, and toys are the most common routes of infection in children. This disease mainly affects the face, neck, armpits, and hands, areas where the person will manifest a series of painless papules or nodules. In this FastlyHealarticle, we inform you everything you need to know about molluscum contagiosum infection: symptoms and treatment.

Causes of molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum is an infection caused by a virus from the poxvirus family, also responsible for the smallpox virus. The virus that causes this disease is very resistant to adverse situations, which is why it is present in much of the world and usually proliferates in humid and temperate environments. The primary forms of contagion are:

  • Contact with contaminated lesions: the papules or nodules caused by molluscum contagiosum are made up of skin cells that contain the virus. Therefore, the virus is easily transferred when touching some of these lesions.
  • Contaminated objects: as the virus is on the skin and usually affects the hands, it is common for the unclean person to infect the things they touch. However, as the virus is resistant to humidity, it is more often found in towels and bathing suits.
  • Swimming pools: swimming pools and public baths are the places with the highest concentration of the virus that causes molluscum contagiosum. It is almost impossible to disinfect these areas.
  • Self-contagion: when a person has molluscum contagiosum, they may spread the virus to other skin parts through contact with their lesions.

Symptoms of molluscum contagiosum

Many people are contaminated with the virus that causes this infection and has never presented any symptoms. However, being carriers of it, they can transmit it. When the condition becomes apparent, molluscum contagiosum symptoms are painless bumps that can grow into flesh-colored or pearl-like nodules. These lesions are itchy, and excessive scratching makes it easier for the virus to spread to other skin parts.

How are molluscum contagiosum lesions

They are like a blister with a dimple in the center and can be between 2 and 5 millimeters wide. These abscesses are not swollen or red unless the person scratches very roughly. A small, white, waxy nodule can be seen in the center of the lesions.

The infection is most common in children’s faces, neck, hands, and armpits, while adults often have lesions on the genitals, abdomen, and inner thighs. Papules can clump together and form large groups; this is much more common in people with a weak immune system, who can present up to 200 lesions throughout the body.

Treatment of molluscum contagiosum

The first thing to do before the manifestation of blemishes on the skin is to go to the dermatologist to perform a complete physical examination of the entire body and determine if the lesions are indeed caused by molluscum contagiosum. This skin infection manifests itself in such a distinctive way that the doctor will be able to make the diagnosis simply by analyzing the shape and location of the lesions.

In most cases where the person has a robust immune system, the infection usually clears up on its own after two months without treatment and by controlling scratching to prevent the pimples from spreading. When molluscum contagiosum causes many blemishes, and the person decides to treat them to eliminate the virus as soon as possible, one of the following treatments can be carried out :

  • Curettage Excision – Used on individual lesions and performed surgically. It consists of superficially scraping the lesions to be removed with a sharp ring. It does not usually leave scars, can cause bleeding, and is the most used option to treat molluscum contagiosum.
  • Cryotherapy: This technique applies liquid nitrogen at a temperature below 0 ° C to freeze the lesions and destroy cells contaminated with the virus.
  • Laser is used in cases of large and grouped lesions found in delicate areas such as the genitals.
  • Topical lotions: it is the slowest of the molluscum contagiosum treatment. It consists of applying creams and ointments to the lesions that progressively eliminate the virus from the skin.

Once molluscum contagiosum has been treated, and all skin lesions have disappeared, there is a risk that papules will reappear after six months. In people with a weakened immune system, the disease may not respond to treatment, and the medical specialist must combine several techniques to achieve recovery.

How to prevent molluscum contagiosum

Since molluscum contagiosum is caused by a virus found almost everywhere that can survive in many environments and is easily spread, it is essential to know how we can prevent contagion. Here are some tips to avoid this infection:

  • Wash your hands several times a day.
  • Do not share any personal use items such as towels, underwear, toothbrush, bathing suits, etc.
  • Using a condom can reduce the risk of infection from sexual intercourse.
  • Lesions should not be scratched or tried to remove manually. Applying some talcum powder to your skin can help relieve itching.
  • In public bathrooms or gyms, avoiding leaning against the walls and machinery is necessary.
  • Sports that suggest physical contact with other people, such as wrestling, risk infection with molluscum contagiosum.

This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor if you present any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Molluscum contagiosum: symptoms and treatment, we recommend entering our Immune System category.

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