Molluscum contagiosum is a viral disease of the skin that causes small pink or skin-colored bumps on the skin. It is not harmful and usually does not have any other symptoms. The virus is inside the bumps and is mildly contagious. These bumps usually clear over an extended period of time.
A virus called the poxvirus causes molluscum contagiosum. It is most common in children and adolescents, although it can affect adults. People with weakened immune systems, young children and people living in warm, humid climates are more susceptible to molluscum contagiosum.
Physical contact spreads the virus from person to person, including skin-to-skin contact and sharing of towels or clothing. Scratching at the bumps will spread the virus. The rash does not appear for several months after the exposure. Small children in contact with one another can spread the virus easily. In adults, the virus can be transmitted through sexual contact.
Common symptoms of molluscum contagiousum include:
Specific treatment for molluscum contagiosum will be determined by your physician based on:
In most cases, the lesions will heal without treatment over 6 to 12 months. The virus can last up to 4 years and may leave scars. The best way to avoid this disease is by following good hygiene habits. For example, do not pick or scratch your skin (or someone else's). Always practice good handwashing hygiene. Additional treatment options may include:
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