Molluscum contagiosium is a common wart virus caused by a poxvirus. Though molluscum can resemble warts, the virus that causes them is different. It occurs most in children, aged 2-12 years.
Molluscum causes 1 or more tiny (from pin head to ¼ inch) skin colored waxy bumps on the skin. They can develop anywhere, and if scratched or rubbed by clothing, more can develop in the same area. The firm bumps can be indented or umbilicated and may have a white center. Thankfully, molluscum are not painful, but can occasionally be itchy.
The diagnosis is easy for your provider to make through the history and visualization of the skin.
If your child already has molluscum, to prevent more from developing, advise them to avoid scratching. Keeping nails cut short can also help. Also avoid rubbing the affected area with a washcloth or towel and then touching this to other skin. To prevent passing molluscum to others, avoid bathing with or sharing a hot tub with others and avoid sharing towels and washcloths. If the child is in contact sports, it will be helpful to cover molluscum if located in an area where there could be skin to skin contact. It takes 4-8 weeks after contact for molluscum to develop.
There is no need to stay out of school or activities due to molluscum. If the child is in contact sports, it will be helpful to cover molluscum if in an area where there could be skin to skin contact.
ClearTriage. Copyright 2000-2019 Schmitt Pediatric Guidelines LLC. Author: Barton Schmitt MD, FAAP
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