What is molluscum contagiosum?

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It's a big name for a little wart. They're common in kids and often spread in summertime when they spend lots of time in the pool. Adults can get them, but it's less common. 

The virus is harmless except for the little bumps it causes. They can sometimes be itchy or irritated, but most kids don't even notice them. 

They go away on their own, but it can take up to a year. If you want them to go away sooner, then see your primary care doctor or dermatologist. Be sure to keep dry, irritated skin moisturized -- the virus likes to spread on damaged skin and can go from a few to dozens if it has the chance!

Another name for molluscum contagiosum is "water warts." These are small skin growths that are usually less than the size of a sesame seed. Molluscum contagiosum is caused by a virus in the pox family, which is different from the virus that causes regular warts. The molluscum virus stays on the skin and doesn't invade the bloodstream, and therefore, it doesn't cause illness or fever, only mild itching and unsightly little bumps, whose color starts out as flesh-toned but may turn pink or red.

As the name suggests, molluscum contagiosum spreads from person to person and is very common among children ages 2 through 10. The condition can be seen in teens and adults too.

Dermatologists offer many effective treatments for molluscum contagiosum, including creams to apply at home. There are also several methods of removing them in the office or clinic. Left intreated, most cases go away on their own, but it will usually take a few months to a year. 

Continue Learning about Viral Infections

Viral Infections

Viral Infections

Viral infections like herpes simplex, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), chicken pox and rotavirus are infections caused by a virus instead of a bacterium. Viral infections do not respond to antibiotics, but some specific viruses ...

like influenza A and B can be treated with certain antiviral medications. Most commonly, treatment for viral infections includes drinking lots of fluids, getting rest, eating well and letting the illness run its course.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.