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Definition — a viral infection of the skin or occasionally of the mucous membranes , sometimes called water warts , they are pink shiny umbilicated papules anywhere on the body except the palms and soles. As the name implies, this is a contagious infection, spread by direct contact with a lesion, by contact with contaminated personal items like towels, clothing or toys or by bathing together or communal pool use.

These bumps usually start out as tiny pink bumps that are not bothersome.

Molluscum Contagiosum

However, over time, they become itchy. Scratching these lesions opens up the contagious contents of the bump and causes spreading. Patients who have a history of eczema are more likely to have this viral infection as it uses broken down skin as an easy portal of entry. This virus can go away on its own over a period of months to years.


In the meantime, spreading of the bumps will continue and the child will remain contagious. Treatment options include topical medications, scraping off the lesions or freezing.

To prevent molluscum contagiosum from spreading:. Your doctor will do a physical examination and may take a sample of the bumps for testing. If you have bumps in your genital area, your doctor may check for other sexually transmitted infections STIs , such as genital herpes.

Molluscum contagiosum | Health Navigator NZ

In most cases, molluscum contagiosum doesn't need to be treated. The bumps usually go away on their own in 6 to 9 months.

Molluscum Contagiosum Treatment

But in some cases, they may last much longer—sometimes even for years. Doctors usually recommend treatment for these bumps in the genital area to prevent them from spreading. If you need treatment, your choices may include:. Children may not need treatment, because molluscum contagiosum usually goes away on its own.

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But if your child needs treatment, talk to your child's doctor about how to prevent pain and scarring. Molluscum contagiosum is most common in children, especially those younger than age In teenagers and young adults, it usually is a sexually transmitted infection. But wrestlers, swimmers, gymnasts, massage therapists, and people who use steam rooms and saunas also can get it.

Molluscum contagiosum is more common in warm, humid climates with crowded living conditions.

Topic Contents

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To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated. British Columbia Specific Information Molluscum contagiosum is a viral skin infection that causes small skin coloured bumps. Top of the page. Topic Overview What is molluscum contagiosum? What are the symptoms? How does molluscum contagiosum spread? To prevent molluscum contagiosum from spreading: Try not to scratch. Put a piece of tape or a bandage over the bumps.

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Do not share towels or face cloths. If the bumps are on your face, don't shave.