February 10, 2023
Who Has Heard of Molluscum Contagiosum?
About 4 weeks ago, I noticed small, pin-head size bumps on the back of my 7 year old daughter’s knee. They were white in color and it was a cluster of about 20-30 bumps. I asked her about them and she told me that they had been there a while, but that they didn’t itch or hurt… that she barely noticed them.
It was strange, to have a rash for such a long time and also, to have something that really didn’t seem to affect her at all. So, me being the paranoid, skin-obsessed mother who just happens to be part of the best skincare company in the world, decided to call the dermatologist. And even though I thought, as the mother of 4 daughters and a skincare professional, I had heard of every skin malady under the sun, I hadn’t.
The dermotologist walks in, having heard my voicemail synopsis of the situation and says, “So are we looking at a case of molluscum?” My mind raced, I admit, to shellfish. “Molluscum???” I asked. “What the heck is that?”
He proceeds to tell me that it is basically a virus that is between warts and chicken pox, can itch, can vary in size and can spread, like any good virus does. And that it is very common in children – we adults having built up some immunity to it along the way. And here is the kicker – can last anywhere from 4 months to 4 YEARS.
That one floored me. You can burn off the lesions, like you would warts, but then you run the risk of having scars, so he suggested that I simply leave them.
Now – like I said above, I thought I had heard of and experienced anything and everything to do with childhood illnesses but this one threw me for a loop so I had to do a little digging, and thought I would share my findings with all you wonderful people.
What is Molluscum:
Medical professionals will say something official sounding like “Small raised growths that have a smooth, waxy surface” but as a mom, I would just say, they are itty bitty bumps that are colorless. But in reality, when you read up on it, the bumps can get pretty large – up to a .25 inch and can itch, so I guess for now, my child has been pretty lucky in that hers are small and don’t itch. Most affected people will experience 10-20 bumps.
Who Molluscum affects:
Primarily, it seems that is affects children, ages 2-12. And shockingly to me, it is REALLY common.
What Molluscum is caused by:
Molluscum is a viral infection that can be passed from one child to another via direct contact or other contact – like warm water. Therefore, if you have one child who has it and you don’t want your other children to get it, don’t share baths. Also – if you have a child who has it, tell them not to itch or pick because this could cause further spread.
How to cure Molluscum:
My doctor recommended against treating it because it isn’t bothering my daughter. The alternative would be to burn them off, like warts but that is only recommended in cases where there is a lot of friction between the bumps and clothing or the child can’t stop picking at them. I also read that strangely, taping them with duct tape is a solid solution to clearing them up more quickly – so stay tuned! I will be taping my daughter’s leg up tonight!