What to Do If Your Child Has Molluscum Contagiosum (MC)
Molluscum contagiosum is a very common viral infection in children. In this article, discover the steps you can take if your child suffers from it.
Molluscum contagiosum is a fairly common viral infection in children. It produces characteristic skin lesions. No matter how long it lasts, it’s a benign infection. In this article, we’ll provide information and tips that can help you if your child suffers from it.
What’s molluscum contagiosum (MC)?
Molluscum contagiosum is caused by the molluscum contagiosum virus (MCV), which is a poxvirus. Because children’s immune systems aren’t fully developed yet, they’re the population group most affected by this condition.
In Europe, this pathology affects up to 5% of children between the ages of two and 12. Thus, it’s quite a common infection. This virus affects the mucous membranes and the most superficial layers of the skin. This condition can be transmitted in the following ways:
- Direct contact with people who suffer from it. For example, skin-to-skin contact.
- Through objects that people with molluscum contagiosum have used and infected, such as toys, towels, and clothes.
- By extension to other body parts of a person who already has lesions.
What symptoms does MC cause?
This virus causes skin lesions. These lesions are similar to small, round, and raised pimples or warts that contain the virus. They can be shiny and have a dimple in the center. In general, these pimples mostly appear in areas such as the armpits, elbows, or groin. They can affect any body part.
Molluscum contagiosum lesions may appear alone or in groups. Although they usually don’t cause pain, they do itch. In fact, by scratching, the virus spreads to other body parts. Sometimes, when the affected person is really itchy and scratches a lot, larger lesions can occur.
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Treatment of molluscum contagiosum
As always, an expert will need to diagnose this pathology. Usually, no additional tests are necessary. Thus, an expert can diagnose it with the naked eye.
As we mentioned above, this virus is usually a benign pathology that, although it can take months and even years to disappear, it usually does so, even without any treatment. Still, some treatments can help end the infection. For example:
- Emptying the lesions of viral content by squeezing them with the necessary material.
- Freezing the lesions (cryotherapy).
- Topical gels and creams, as well as oral treatments in the form of syrup or pills.
The doctor will evaluate which treatment is more appropriate in each case, or even if it’s best to leave it untreated. Everything will depend on the child, the number of lesions, their extension, and the symptoms they’re causing.
What to do if your child has molluscum contagiosum (MC)
If your child has this infection, you can take several preventive measures to avoid spreading it to others or to prevent it from spreading to the rest of your child’s body. Some of these measures are:
- Avoid touching, scratching, or rubbing the lesions as much as possible.
- Avoid using the same tools, such as clothing, sheets, and towels with people who aren’t infected.
- Wash your hands frequently, and also keep the wound area clean and dry.
Apart from these measures, a child with molluscum contagiosum can continue to lead a totally normal life. For example, they’re perfectly able to go out and play with other children.
Nevertheless, we should note that, if the infection has passed, even after it has healed, a person can become infected and suffer from it again. Thus, people who already suffered from this infection should also take these preventive measures.
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Molluscum contagiosum is a benign pathology that doesn’t usually cause complications and ends up disappearing on its own or with the help of some treatment. In the event of lesions or symptoms, it’s important, as always, to take your child to a doctor so they can make the final diagnosis and decide on the most appropriate treatment.