WHAT IS MOLLUSCUM?

Molluscum contagiosum is a common viral skin infection caused by the molluscum contagiosum virus (MCV). It manifests as small, raised, flesh-colored or pearly bumps on the skin with a dimpled center. These lesions are typically painless but can become itchy, inflamed, or irritated, especially if scratched or traumatized. Molluscum contagiosum is highly contagious and spreads through direct skin-to-skin contact or by sharing items like towels or clothing with an infected individual. It often affects children but can also occur in adults, particularly those with weakened immune systems. In most cases, molluscum contagiosum resolves on its own within months to years without treatment, but treatment options are available to alleviate symptoms or expedite resolution, including cryotherapy, topical medications, or surgical removal of lesions. It’s essential to avoid scratching or picking at the lesions to prevent spreading the virus to other parts of the body or to other individuals.

HOW DERMATOLOGY HELPS

Dermatology offers several ways to help individuals with molluscum contagiosum. Dermatologists can accurately diagnose the condition through visual examination of the characteristic raised, flesh-colored bumps with a central dimple. They can then provide guidance on managing the infection and preventing its spread to others. Treatment options include topical medications, such as creams or solutions containing substances like imiquimod or retinoids, which can help speed up the resolution of the lesions. Additionally, dermatologists may perform procedures such as cryotherapy, where the lesions are frozen off using liquid nitrogen, or curettage, where the lesions are scraped off the skin’s surface. These interventions can help alleviate symptoms and reduce the risk of spreading the virus to other individuals or areas of the body. Dermatologists also offer support and guidance on proper skincare practices to prevent secondary infections and minimize scarring. Overall, dermatology provides comprehensive care for individuals with molluscum contagiosum, helping to manage symptoms, promote healing, and prevent further transmission of the virus.