What is Molluscum Contagiosum?
Molluscipoxvirus or molluscum contagiosum, a common and contagious skin infection caused by its corresponding virus, leaves raised nodules or papules on the skin.
If left untreated, this infection resolves itself within 6 to 12 months but in some cases, it has gone on for 4 years. So while treatment isn’t a complete necessity it certainly helps prevent the spread of the virus.
It can be diagnosed by its appearance itself. However, it is not only the lesion that decides the condition. The underlying cause is a contributory factor that provides the basis of doctors’ consultations and recommendations for investigations. It can be a reflection of HIV and many other immune disorders.
Types and Targets
These molluscum bodies are usually painless and do not itch. They grow singularly or in groups. While any area of the skin can be infected and lesions can show up anywhere, the abdomen, legs, arms, neck, genital area, and face are highly susceptible.
Molluscum contagiosum virus (MCV) could potentially affect children under the age of 15 years, but it most commonly affects children between 1 and 10 years of age.
- MCV type 1 is the most common version of the virus which usually attacks children of the aforementioned age group.
- MCV type 2 is sexually transmitted and common among adults.
Complications of Molluscum Contagiosum
Complications can occur but these are very rare. These include:
- Bacterial infections – These require treatment with antibiotics.
- Scarring – After your lesions have healed and cleared away, patches of skin that are pale in comparison to your natural skin color or tiny scars which form indents may be left behind which are a result of infected lesions.
- Eye problems – A derivative eye infection could possibly develop, such as conjunctivitis or keratitis. Your eyes can become sore and sensitive to light, therefore it is a must to contact your doctor in case of any boils or bumps seen around your eyes’ area.
Risk and Prevention
While most people are resistant to molluscum contagiosum virus, an action as simple as touching a lesion with bare hands can infect you since it is contagious in nature.
The following factors can increase your risk of being infected:
- A weak immune system
- Atopic dermatitis
- Crowded work, play, and living conditions
- Cancer treatment
As a general principle
- Avoid using gloves, clothes, towels or even equipment that has been re-used to prevent this infection from harming you, especially if you’re at a natural risk due to a weak immune system or any other skin infection
- Scratching these dome-shaped or pearl-like lesions can spread the infection to other parts of your body or worsen it
- Do not shave infected areas
- Do not physically contact another person or engage in sexual intercourse
- Do not use perfumes or deodorants in these areas
- Do not use public locker rooms
- Do not handle equipment which is used by others
- Cover infected areas by cloth or waterproof bandages