By Dr. Cheryl Hull, dermatologist and owner of Hull Dermatology
Most moms know it’s not uncommon to see a weird bump or rash on a child’s skin from time to time. But in the last few months, I’ve been seeing more cases (than I normally do) of a common skin infection seen in children. It’s called “molluscum contagiosum,” and, yes, it is contagious. (You can see a photo of what it looks like on the right.)
This condition is characterized by single or multiple shiny, flesh colored bumps that are commonly confused for warts. (But these bumps have a more distinct shiny appearance versus the rough texture warts have.) Although the appearance of the bumps probably bothers most parents, the good news is that this condition is not harmful to a child’s overall health.
Molluscum is caused by a virus that’s in the same family of viruses as the chicken pox virus. The infection is spread from skin contact, either directly or from other sources including swimming pools, bath towels, etc. The virus can infect any area of the body, but the trunk, underarms, inner arms, and behind the knees are the most common sites to find the bumps.
Molluscum contagiosum will resolve on its own, but it can take up to 2-3 years to do so. As the name implies, this skin infection is very contagious. Adults are usually not susceptible to the infection, as most adults have been exposed to it in the past. If not treated, approximately 10% of molluscum will leave pox-like scars.
Treatment of molluscum can be very difficult as many of the treatment options, such as liquid nitrogen or curettage, are painful and most children do not tolerate these procedures. To treat, I recommend several different prescription creams that can be applied directly to the lesions to help induce immunity. Also, there are topical medications that can be applied in the office that cause the lesions to blister and peel off.
For more info on dermatology-related issues, contact Dr. Hull by calling her office at 479-254-9662. “Beauty Buzz” is sponsored by Hull Dermatology, with offices in Rogers, Bella Vista and at the Eureka Springs Hospital. Dr. Hull has published several scientific papers and has received numerous awards and honors for her work in dermatology. For more info, click here to visit the Hull Dermatology website.