Molluscum contagiosum is a viral skin infection that causes either single or multiple raised, pearl-like bumps (papules) on the skin. It is a chronic infection and lesions may persist from a few months to a few years. However, most cases resolve in six to nine months.
Molluscum contagiosum is caused by a virus (the molluscum contagiosum virus) that is part of the poxvirus family. The virus is contagious through direct contact and is more common in children. However, the virus also can be spread by sexual contact and can occur in people with compromised immune systems. Molluscum contagiosum can spread on a single individual through scratching and rubbing.
Common locations for the molluscum contagiosum papules are on the face, trunk, and limbs of children and on the genitals, abdomens, and inner thighs of adults. The condition usually results in papules that:
- Are generally painless, but can itch
- Are small (2 to 5 millimeter diameter)
- Have an indentation (dimple) in the center
- Are initially firm, dome-shaped, and flesh-colored
- Become softer with time
- May turn red and drain over time
- Have a central core of white, waxy material
Molluscum contagiosum usually disappears spontaneously over a period of months to years in people who have normal immune systems. In people who have AIDS or other conditions that affect the immune system, the lesions associated with molluscum contagiosum can be extensive and especially chronic.
To prevent molluscum contagiosum, follow these tips:
- Avoid direct contact with anyone who may have the condition.
- It is important to keep the area with growths clean and covered with clothing or a bandage so that others do not touch the bumps and become infected with molluscum. However, when there is no risk of others coming into contact with your skin, such as at night when you sleep, uncover the bumps to help keep your skin healthy
- Treat underlying eczema in children.
- Remain sexually abstinent or have a monogamous sexual relationship with an uninfected individual. (Male and female condoms cannot offer full protection as the virus can be found on areas not covered by the condom.)
- Do not share towels, clothing, or other personal items.
- Do not shave or have electrolysis on areas with bumps.
Molluscum contagiosum is a self-limiting disease but in cases with large lesions and in weak patients homeopathy can bring about effective cure. It requires a thorough case taking and picking out the characteristics of the case. After the correct dose of medicine, the lesions start disappearing following an inflammatory reaction with erythema and itching.
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