Molluscum Contagiosum Causes and Symptoms
- Direct contact with the infected person: For example, when playing, touching, or after sexual intercourse. In the latter case, the lesions are usually located in the genital region.
- Through contact with shared objects: such as towels, clothing, or toys.
People with atopic dermatitis or any other skin lesion are seen more often with this disease. From the time the infection occurs until the disease develops (incubation period), between 2 and 8 weeks usually elapse, although sometimes several months may elapse.
Molluscum contagiosum produces one or more small lesions, between 2 and 5 mm in diameter, raised, pearly, whitish, pink, or the same color as the flesh, with a small dimple in the center. They can be seen anywhere on the body, (such as the face, neck, arms, hands, etc.,) except on the soles of your feet and palms of the hands, and they usually do not cause annoying symptoms.
In people without problems in their immune system, the lesions disappear on their own after a few months, although sometimes they can even take years. Lesions can be more persistent in the presence of lowered defenses, such as in AIDS patients.
Diagnosis and Contagion
- In the pool: cover injuries with waterproof clothing or bandages; do not share swimming boards and other water toys. Also, avoid, if possible, rubbing with the lanyards.
- Do not share other people’s towels, clothes, or other individual things.
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water.
- Avoid touching or scratching the lesions.
Lesions can disappear spontaneously and without scarring, which is why they are often left untreated. Sometimes, both pediatricians and dermatologists, to avoid autoinoculation and contagion to other people, treat molluscum with little aggressive techniques:
- A topical medicine (such as for warts): they can apply or recommend that parents apply substances on them
- Burn them off: usually with cryotherapy (using a very cold substance)
- Curettage: removing them from the base using a small spoon with sharp edges
The results with any of these techniques are excellent. The prognosis of Molluscum contagiosum is good; it usually disappears on its own and does not affect internal organs.
There are multiple therapeutic options, which can be classified into:
- Surgical techniques: (physical destruction by cryotherapy with liquid nitrogen
- Curettage: manual expression
- Topical treatments: these produce an inflammatory response at the infected site
The choice of treatment depends on the characteristics of the patient:
- The patients’ age
- The number and location of the lesions
- The presence of other dermatoses or concomitant diseases
- The performance of recreational activities
- The patient’s preference, etc…
Other factors that will affect treatment choice are the doctor’s ability, experience, and material resources. Any therapeutic option is useful since, so far, none has proven to be more effective compared to the rest.