Molluscum contagiosum is a viral infection affecting the skin. It most commonly affects children although it can occur later in life. Molluscum is usually a harmless condition which generally gets better after a few months without any specific treatment. However, because molluscum can spread around the body it can take around 18 months for the condition to completely clear from your child.
The main symptom of molluscum is a number of firm domed shaped spots on the skin. These spots have a dimple in the middle and are usually around 5mm in size although occasionally bigger. They are pink or red in color with a white or yellow head in the center. If the head erupts through the spot the yellow substance will be released and is highly infectious.
The spots are usually between 20 and 30 in number although some children have more. They can develop all over the body or in small clusters most commonly starting in the armpit, groin or behind the knees. The spots are usually painless but can itch.
As the condition progresses the spots start to crust over and heal possibly with some mild swelling and redness around each spot as it starts to heal.
The spots do not usually leave scars but sometimes a lighter area of skin or perhaps even a small dent may remain for a short while after the spot has disappeared.
The virus causing molluscum can spread to other areas of the skin causing new spots to develop as the older ones disappear which is why molluscum can last for quite a long time. Generally most cases end between 6 to 18 months but rarely the virus can persist for longer.
Although molluscum is contagious it is unlikely that it will spread to others if you follow these steps.
If you are concerned about the spots of molluscum or are unsure that this is what they are, or if they become infected or sore then consult your doctor for further diagnosis and treatment.