Molluscum Contagiosum

Molluscum Contagiosum

Molluscum Contagiosum Treatments

Molluscum contagiosum is among the most common types of skin conditions in pediatric patients who are treated by a Gainesville dermatologist with our practice, although this skin condition may also occur in adult patients. For more information about this skin condition, to schedule an appointment for treatment, or to learn about the types of skin conditions treated at Gainesville Dermatology & Skin Surgery, contact us today.

What Is Molluscum Contagiosum?

Molluscum contagiosum is a skin condition caused by a virus related to the pox family. It is usually found in children but can affect anyone at any age and is highly contagious. This skin condition is prevalent in children because of their increased likelihood of exposure to infection through skin-to-skin contact. Other common forms of transmission include swimming pools and shared sports equipment. If you or your child has developed molluscum contagiosum, contact the dermatologists in Gainesville with our skin care clinic. We provide comprehensive and effective skin care treatments, including those for molluscum contagiosum and more.

Symptoms Of Molluscum Contagiosum

Symptoms of molluscum contagiosum may not manifest for up to six months after being infected by the virus. However, most patients develop lesions within two weeks and seven weeks after infection. The lesions generally appear individually or in small groups of up to 20 lesions with the following characteristics.

  • Shiny and smooth in appearance, usually less than five millimeters in diameter;
  • Flesh-colored, pink, or white coloration;
  • Dome-shaped, firm lesions with a dented or dimpled middle; and
  • Having a central core filled with a wax-like material.

Molluscum contagiosum can appear anywhere on the body except on hand palms and foot soles. An infected area may develop unexplained swelling before the lesions appear.

Causes Of Molluscum Contagiosum

This skin condition is caused by a virus belonging to the pox family and is highly contagious. Children are usually infected through skin-to-skin contact or by sharing contaminated items, such as clothing, towels, and other personal belongings. A person with the virus can spread it to different parts of their body via rubbing and scratching.

If you believe you or your child has been infected with the molluscum contagiosum virus, contact the dermatologists Gainesville residents trust for treatment of skin care issues.

Risk Factors For Molluscum Contagiosum

While anyone can develop molluscum contagiosum, the cause and spread of the condition is more prevalent for people who apply to the following.

  • Are between age 1 and age 10;
  • Live in tropical climates;
  • Have weakened immune systems, such as after cancer treatments or organ transplants;
  • Have been diagnosed with atopic dermatitis; and/or
  • Participate in contact sports where skin-to-skin contact frequently occurs.

How Is Molluscum Contagiosum Diagnosed?

Your dermatologist will be able to diagnose the condition due to its unmistakable appearance.  They may also use a biopsy or skin scraping to rule out other skin conditions, such as chickenpox or warts. Contact us if any skin lesions are still visible after several days.

Molluscum Contagiosum Treatments

Most incidences of molluscum contagiosum resolve naturally without medical intervention within several weeks or months of diagnosis. But, our Gainesville dermatology professionals can create an effective treatment plan based on the patient’s age and the number and location of the lesions. Treatments may include freezing with liquid nitrogen; burning with a light touch of electrical current; scraping the lesion off with an instrument called a curette; or application of topical medications such as Cantharidin or Aldara. Cantharidin is a chemical treatment that provides painless, effective results. It’s applied topically with a cotton swab and produces a blister within 24 hours.

Directions For Parents Of Children Treated With Cantharidin

Cantharidin treatment may require several visits at 3-week or 4-week intervals. This chemical treatment produces blisters that take several days to crust and heal, leaving pinpoint scars as the lesions heal. Some patients also experience temporary skin discoloration with healing.

After application of Cantharidin, the area should be left dry for 4 hours to 6 hours before bathing. If the child complains of pain at the treated sites, remove the tape and wash the area with soap and water. Don’t pop any blisters as they will spontaneously rupture as the medication works. Cover the blister daily with a sterile bandage and double antibiotic ointment until healed.

How To Prevent Molluscum Contagiosum

For more information about preventing common skin conditions or to schedule a dermatology appointment, contact us today. While the best way to prevent molluscum contagiosum is to avoid skin-to-skin or indirect contact with another person or item with the virus, it’s often difficult to know if a person or item is infected. The spread of the infection can be prevented through the following. For more information, contact us today.

  • Always using effective handwashing techniques with warm water and soap
  • Teaching children how to properly wash their hands
  • Not sharing personal items, such as clothing, hair brushes, and towels
  • Not picking at visible lesions or touching visible lesions
  • Avoiding shaving and/or using electrolysis in areas with lesions
  • Avoiding sexual contact if lesions are in the genital area