What is it?
Molluscum or “molluscum contagiosum” is a very common viral infection of the skin caused by the virus Poxvirus. Mostly it appears on the face, neck, armpits, arms and hands, however it can be found anywhere on the body except for the palm of the hands and soles of the feet.
It’s characterized by presenting as a small round, isolated or group papule that can grow to become a nodule of skin color and pearl-like appearance. Frequently, a dimple appears in the center.
Who does it affect?
Although it’s a very common infection in children, especially in the age group 1-10 years, it can also be suffered by adults.
The people most at risk for this infection are those who:
- They present immunodeficiency
- They have atopic skin
- They live in hot and humid climates
Usually, mollusks are asymptomatic and may be confused with a granite caused by inverted hair or a herpes or wart. It’s common for the patient to go to the clinic with a chart of months of evolution of the virus.
An eczema may appear around mollusks (desquamation, itching, redness) as the body’s immune response against the virus.
It can be transmitted through direct contact with people or objects infested by the virus or by sexual transmission.
It can also happen that an infected person, when scratching or touching the molluscs, spreads them over the rest of the body.
Unlike herpes viruses, the Poxvirus doesn’t pass into the blood, but remains on the surface of the skin (epidermis). So once the infection heals the person can no longer transmit it as it’s not latent.
Mollusks don’t require specific treatment since it’s the immune system itself that eliminates them but, as they cause a problem since they are a focus of contagion, they are usually treated.
There are several techniques for the treatment of this virus:
- Curetaje: (the technique of the small spoon) this method consists of physically extracting the mollusks. It’s a stressful technique for both the child and the parents, since the injury often bleeds during the procedure and often causes scars.
- Cryotherapy: consists of applying liquid nitrogen to the lesions. This technique is optimal when there is a low number of mollusks for their effectiveness and comfort.
- Astringent Solutions: the application of these solutions consists of lotions to facilitate the immune response of the host and to cause the natural elimination of mollusks. It’s used when there is a large number of mollusks.
It’s very important to follow the following tips to avoid the spread of molluscs:
- Maintain good hygiene habits
- Moisturize skin very well
- Avoid direct contact with the injuries and/or personal items (towels, toys, clothes) of infected persons.
- Don’t touch or scratch the papules.
- Keep covered with clothing or with a bandage the lesions
- Minimize or avoid aquatic activities while infestation
- Don’t have sex with infested people