You have probably never heard of molluscum contagiosum until now, when either you or your child has been diagnosed with the virus. Having begun to research it on the internet you may well be horrified at how severely molluscum can develop and spread for some people.
You will also no doubt have been told that there is nothing that can be done and that you should leave it to â€˜run its courseâ€™ which usually is anything from 12 months to 2 or 3 years. All of this information can be very upsetting. Although molluscum is fairly innocuous no one should be content to wait for this length of time for the lesions to go on their own. No child or adult wants to be potentially covered in spots for 2 years or more!
It is certainly true that there is no antiviral medication (drug) or cream specifically for molluscum. That is why the NHS have to tell you to let it run its course.
THE TRUTH ABOUT MOLLUSCUM:
- Molluscum is extremely common in the UK and many other countries, particularly amongst children (in fact it is absolutely rife here in the UK)
- Molluscum is caused by a DNA pox virus, and although the lesions are often referred to as â€˜pearly wartsâ€™ it is not a wart. Warts are caused by the HPV virus (human papilloma viruses)
- Whether you have been told so or not molluscum is contagious and passes on easily, again particularly between children
- Molluscum is passed on through direct skin-to-skin contact, by sharing towels, clothing, toys, bath water, at swimming pools, schools, nurseries and through sexual contact
- There is contradictory information about whether or not molluscum passes on at swimming pools or not BUT there is no doubt that it is passed on in this way. Molluscum can live in damp conditions for around 24 hours, so many children that swim regularly have caught molluscum. It passes on via the side of the pool, changing rooms and swimming floats
- If you have molluscum it would be wise to avoid swimming or to wear a sun protection suit that covers the affected areas, not because swimming makes molluscum worse but to try and avoid spreading it further to other people
- Most adults donâ€™t seem to catch molluscum from their children, and so must have some level of immunity against the virus
- If an adult has molluscum he or she can either have caught it in exactly the same way that a child has OR through sexual contact in which case the spots begin in the genital area
- Molluscum has an incubation period of around 2 to 8 weeks
- Each lesion generally has a lifespan of around 6 to 12 weeks before they crust over and go away, however some spots can remain for much longer appearing to do nothing but continuing to allow the virus to spread
- Having molluscum does not indicate a weak immune system but people with immune problems are likely to have it more severely
- Molluscum spots can appear to be inactive for many months and then very suddenly can spread across the body, even to the face, eyes and genital areas so it is best not to leave it alone, the sooner you try to get rid of it the better
- Molluscum can spread to any area of the body without touching or scratching the spots. The virus can be present in the mucous membranes, not just on the surface of the skin
- It is common for patches of eczema to develop around the mollusca even if you have never had eczema before
- You do not have to just leave it there is much that can be done naturally to fight viral infections, including molluscum