What is Molluscum Contagiosum?
Molluscum contagiosum is a virus that causes flesh colored small bumps on the skin. These bumps can be itchy but usually cause no symptoms. Molluscum is contagious and is spread by skin-to-skin contact and is therefore especially common in athletes. Lesions of molluscum can occur anywhere on the body and sometimes will be surrounded by inflamed, red skin. Molluscum is not harmful to your child.
How is Molluscum Contagiosum Treated?
In most children, molluscum lesions will get better on their own in a few months especially single lesions. A parent might decide to treat if:
- Lesions are itchy or bothersome
- Lesions look infected or inflamed
- Cosmetic concerns
- Lesions are in a sensitive area like the face or groin
- Child comes into physical contact with others often and therefore might spread lesions to others
Common treatment options include:
- Liquid nitrogen: A freezing substance also used to remove warts
- Curettage: this involves physical removal of lesions
- Cantharidin: also known as ‘beetle juice,’ can also be applied to remove lesions
When can my child return to school?
Children can return to school immediately. However to avoid transmission:
- Cover lesions which might come into contact with others
- Don’t share towels or sponges
- Athletes should cover lesions when competing
Check in with K if…
- You have general questions about your child’s condition
- You want general followup for your child
- You have questions about supportive care
- Your child’s symptoms don’t go away after treatment but are not alarming
See a doctor in person if…
- If it spreads to sensitive areas like the face or groin
- The lesions look infected
K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.