Molluscum Contagiosum is a rare skin infection caused by the Molluscum contagiosum virus. It is a fairly common skin infection that usually results in round, hard, or firm painless bumps that range in size from a pinhead to a pencil eraser.
In the event that any of the bumps get scratched, the infection may spread to surrounding areas of the skin. Molluscum Contagiosum can also be transmitted through contact with infected objects as well as person-to-person contact.
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While it is relatively more common in children, Molluscum Contagiosum can affect adults as well. Molluscum Contagiosum involving the genitals is often described as a sexually transmitted disease as it often spreads through bodily contact.
Molluscum Contagiosum is usually acquired by touching the skin of an already infected individual. As such, teens, as well as adults, are highly likely to contract the disease via sexual contact. You can also get infected with the virus during contact sports, particularly those that involve touching bare skin, including football and wrestling.
The Molluscum Contagiosum virus can survive on surfaces that have come into contact with the skin of an infected individual. This means that it is possible to contract the infection by handling clothing, towels, toys, or any other contaminated items. Also, if you have already contracted the virus, you can easily spread it throughout your body by either scratching, touching, or shaving an infected bump and then touching another area within your body.
The associated Molluscum symptoms include bumps on your skin that are:
Bearing in mind that the skin lesions or bumps caused by Molluscum Contagiosum feature a somewhat distinct appearance, your doctor can diagnose the condition based on a clinical examination. However, a skin biopsy or scraping can help verify the diagnosis.
A verified diagnosis will come in handy in ruling out other conditions with similar symptoms, including warts, chickenpox, or even cancer.
This involves the process of freezing the infected skin areas using liquid nitrogen to eliminate those spots. Usually, it takes at least five seconds to eliminate a single spot, and a layer of ice forms on top of the spot as well as the adjacent skin areas. Depending on the severity of your infection, you may require numerous sessions of cryotherapy before all the spots can completely disappear.
This type of treatment involves the use of heat to effectively eliminate the spots. Before the treatment is administered, the infected skin area is numbed using a local anesthetic and heated electrical equipment is used to safely burn off the spots.
This involves the removal of the spots by scraping them off using spoon-like dives known as a curette. Just like diathermy treatment, you may need a local anesthetic to undergo this type of treatment comfortably.
In this type of treatment, your doctor only applies topical creams that usually contain acids or other desired chemicals that can trigger the peeling of the skin lesions.
Because all these treatment techniques involve the handling of each bump, more than one session may be required – so if you have numerous large bumps, extra treatment sessions lasting at least three weeks may be required until all the lesions disappear. It is also important to know that new lesions may form even as the existing ones are treated.
In adults, Molluscum Contagiosum is considered a sexually transmitted infection because you can contract it through sex. However, you don’t need to have sex to either contract or transmit the virus! It can be spread through skin-to-skin contact with an already infected person.
Unlike chickenpox, if you have had this condition once and treated it accordingly, you are never protected against being infected a second time! Even after successful treatment, you should continue taking the necessary precautions to ensure you don’t get the disease again.
Molluscum Contagiosum is caused by the virus in the poxvirus family, which is not the same as the HPV or human papillomavirus that causes warts. However, these two are usually discussed from the same perspective because they are both highly contagious viral infections that result in skin lesions.
Because the virus can practically survive on surfaces that have been touched by the skin of an infected individual, it is very possible to contract the virus from a toilet seat!
You can prevent the spread of Molluscum Contagiosum through the following measures:
- Frequent hand washing: always keep your hands clean to help curb the spread of the virus.
- Don’t touch the bumps: Always resist the urge to touch the infected skin areas until they are completely treated.
- Avoid sharing personal items: Towels, clothing, hairbrushes as well as other personal items shouldn’t be shared or borrowed.
- Avoid sexual contact: If there are Molluscum Contagiosum lesions on your genital area, refrain from sexual contact until all the bumps are treated and are no longer there.
- Cover the bumps: Always ensure all the infected parts of your skin are entirely covered when around others, to curb direct contact.