What is it?
Molluscum contagiosum (MC) is a viral infection that affects the skin. It most commonly affects children, although it can occur at any age.
MC is generally a harmless condition that normally gets better in a few months without any specific treatment.
However, its common for the condition to spread around the body, so it can take up to 18 months or more for the condition to clear completely.
What are the symptoms?
Molluscum is painless but can be itchy. When the spots appear they look like pimples. Over time they become round, pink or pearl-coloured lumps with a hard core and often a dimple in the centre. The spots are usually very small, but they can be as large as two centimetres.
Signs and symptoms of molluscum contagiosum include bumps on the skin that:
- Are raised, round and flesh colored
- Are small typically under about 1⁄4 inch (smaller than 6 millimeters) in diameter
- Characteristically have a small indentation (umbilication) or dot at the top near the center
- Can become red and inflamed
- May be itchy
- Can be easily removed by scratching or rubbing, which can spread the virus to adjacent skin
- Usually appear on the face, neck, armpits, arms and tops of the hands in children
- May be seen on the genitals, lower abdomen and inner upper thighs in adults if the infection was sexually transmitted
- Make sure that proper hygiene is maintained. If you are infected, wash your clothes separately and make sure you wash your hands regularly to minimize spread of infection.
- Avoid touching other people till the infection has resolved.
- Avoid sharing items with other people, like shaving kit or clothes till the eruptions disappear.
- Refrain from sexual intercourse if the lesions are present in the sexual areas of the body.
- Do not scratch off the eruptions as this easily facilitates spread of infection to adjacent parts of the body.
- Do not shave or perform any kind of medical / surgical procedures on the affected parts of the body.
Things to watch out for
MC usually clears up on its own. GP should be contacted if you experience severe symptoms including redness, swelling and pain in the skin .