Molluscum Contagiosum

A rather common skin condition that is often ignored, as the lesions give you no trouble.

Commonly, you may find small firm bumps over the skin. They are painless, may sometimes give slight itch. More or less, they are non disturbing. This is likely to be a viral infection of the skin and is called molluscum contagiosum.

How Do You Get the Virus Over Your Skin?

The disease spread through direct contact with an infected person or by touching objects contaminated by a sufferer.

These objects may include common towels, linen, bed sheets, toilet seats etc. These are all places that are wet or moist and may harbor the virus is active stage for some time.

By direct touch, the virus is easily transferred over your skin and produces a lesion there. If you scratch or injure this lesion in any way, the virus may spread to the nearby healthy skin surface as well and produce more lesions.

Symptoms

  • There is no fever or any other bodily symptom. The only sign visible is tiny bumps over the skin.
  • The bumps may be as small as a pinhead to as big as a grape. They may be one or two. If the skin is scratched and the infection spreads, clusters of these bumps may be seen.
  • They are round, typically dome shaped, having regular boundaries. Firm to touch and typically show an umbilication in the center. This means that the center of the bump is somewhat indented and looks as if poked.
  • Lesions are always painless. If rubbed or scratched, you may be able to remove them. However, doing so actually spreads the infection to surrounding skin surface.
  • They may rarely be itchy, when you tend to rub them. They do not look red or inflamed nor do they appear as a scab. The color is a bit darker than your normal skin color.

Location of the Bumps

Usually exposed skin areas of the hand, neck, face or lower legs. They may sometimes be seen in the armpits.

If acquired during sexual intercourse, the bumps may be present in the groin region, lower inner thighs or lower abdomen.

Who Gets the Problem?

Any one who is exposed to the virus may get it over his skin. However, the condition is more commonly seen in children and teenage.

If you have a weakened immune system, poor nutritional status or some underlying skin problem, as dermatitis, you are more prone to developing the lesions.

Management

The lesions do not interfere with your daily life and may be left as such in most cases. They gradually reduce in size to fade away in a month or so.

However, newer lesions may continue appearing slowly, as the infection spreads to nearby areas.

It usually takes a year or two or the viral to completely leave you. Sometimes, it may stay over your skin for as long as 5 to 6 years.

Avoid scratching the lesions. This only spreads the virus to further infect the surrounding skin.

If your lesions, itch or interfere with your looks, you may consider their removal. Do not scrape it at home. Medical procedures may be properly carried out for the purpose.

Medical Treatment

Certain skin irritants, as salicylic acid or potassium hydroxide may be used in the form of ointments over them. These may help in gradual scraping of the lesion.

Some irritants may help forming a blister under the lesion, lifting the bump and shedding it away.

Gels containing retinoids, like tretinoin may be used to increase the cell turnover at that point.

Surgical Removal

This include freezing the bumps or destroying them by laser beams. Some surgeons may scrape them neatly for you, without infecting the nearby areas.

You may prevent the spread of the disease by washing your hands after meeting people, shaking hands or using common personal belongings.