Summer is finally here! With the warmer weather upon us, we have exchanged our winter gear with our shorts, tanks, and bathing suits. The parts of our body normally covered by long clothing are now exposed for everyone to see. It’s usually this time of year that we start to notice and become concerned with lesions on our skin. This is especially true about our kids and molluscum. If we are in the camp struggling with molluscum, we are stressing out about getting these lesions clear before spending our summer days at the pool. On the other hand, if we are among the fortunate ones not dealing with this very common virus, we are trying our best to stay clear from anyone that may be infected. Let’s get down to the facts about these pesky little bumps that are so ubiquitous.
Molluscum contagiosum is a very common skin infection. While it is most often seen in children, it can affect adults as well. It is a contagious virus that spreads person-to-person or via contaminated surfaces and usually causes painless flesh colored bumps. Left untreated, these lesions typically resolve on their own within 1-3 years. However, in some cases, the lesions can last longer. Treatment can certainly expedite the clearance as well as prevent the spread to oneself or others.
There are several ways to help keep the virus contained. Wash hands regularly and avoid touching the bumps when possible. Shaving over the affected area can cause the lesions to multiply. Try not to share personal items such as towels, razors, or clothes. When appropriate, cover the bumps to prevent the spread. Avoid the use of locker rooms or participating in sports such as wrestling or gymnastics.
The most common way that we treat molluscum is with a noninvasive approach. A clear painless liquid is applied to the bump, a blister soon develops, and once the scab falls away, the lesion usually resolves. This method is typically repeated every 3-4 weeks until all lesions have disappeared. Other treatment options include freezing the lesion with liquid nitrogen or scraping the bump with a special tool called a curette. While these methods are also very effective, there can be slight discomfort associated with the treatment. Finally, we can prescribe a topical cream to use at home. While kids love this option, it tends to take more time to reach the desired endpoint. Regardless of the option chosen, it is possible to get new bumps even after treatment has been initiated. If you or your child is struggling with persistent molluscum and you desire assistance with clearing these lesions, schedule an appointment and we would love to help. Call 205-580-1500 to set up your appointment.