GOLDEN BAY COMMUNITY HEALTH
UPDATEd 10 January 2018
BAY DREAMS FESTIVAL
Molluscum is a common viral skin infection that causes small, harmless, raised spots to appear on the skin. It is caused by the molluscum contagiosum virus. Once infected, your child can easily spread molluscum to other people, or to different areas on their own body. It is spread by touching the molluscum spots, and through bath or pool water, bath toys and towels.
Molluscum spots may stay on the body for a few weeks, several months or more than a year. Molluscum does not usually need any treatment. Molluscum spots are painless and usually not itchy.
Signs and symptoms of molluscum:
At first, molluscum spots look like white pimples. They then become round, pearl-coloured lumps that have a white mark or indentation in the centre. They are usually 1–5 mm in size, but can be as big as 2 cm. Generally, molluscum spots are found on the stomach, face, arms, legs or in the nappy area.
How is molluscum spread?
The molluscum virus is found in warm water, so children are often infected in swimming pools and baths. Sharing towels and face washers is another way to spread the virus. Molluscum can also be spread from skin-to-skin contact involving the molluscum spots.
It can take weeks or even months for the spots to appear after your child has come into contact with the molluscum virus.
Good personal hygiene is important to help prevent molluscum spreading. If your child has molluscum:
Do not share towels, face washers or clothing.
Wash your hands thoroughly after touching your child’s molluscum spots.
Treatment for molluscum:
Most of the time, molluscum does not need any treatment. The spots usually disappear over time as the body fights and kills the virus. In some children this can take more than a year. Molluscum spots heal without scarring.
When to see a doctor
Sometimes, the skin around the molluscum spots can develop a rash and the skin can become infected with bacteria. If this happens, take your child to a GP. Antibiotics may be prescribed for the skin infection, but the antibiotics do not treat the molluscum spots themselves, because antibiotics do not work against viruses.
Key points to remember:
Molluscum is caused by a virus, resulting in small, harmless, raised spots. The spots are painless and usually not itchy.
It is spread easily from person to person by touching the molluscum spots, and through bath or pool water, bath toys and towels.
Good hygiene can help reduce the spread of the infection.
Common questions doctors are asked
Why does my child scratch at their molluscum?
Molluscum spots usually don’t itch. It's more likely that the molluscum has caused a local flare up of pre-existing eczema, which may be itchy.
Can my child go to child care if she has molluscum?
Children with molluscum can go to school, child care and kindergarten, and play with other children, because clothing usually covers the affected areas.