Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosumMysterious bumps appeared on your child's skin? One thing they could be is Molluscum contagiosum.

Generally known as molluscum, it's a common viral skin condition that affects people of all ages but mostly children aged one to 14, especially those under 10.

The name may sound like a spell from Harry Potter, but it refers to small, skin-coloured spots. 

These viral spots are distinctive in appearance, having a small crater-like dip in the centre.

They appear suddenly in a small localised crop, usually on the arms, armpits, back, tummy or legs. They can persist for months, or even years.

In some instances, they can become troublesome, especially when accompanied by eczema when the spots can be inflamed, itchy and sometimes infected.

Molluscum contagiosum: need-to-know
• The spots usually clear up on their own, without any treatment.
• The virus that causes molluscum is highly contagious, but most people are resistant to the virus and unlikely to develop spots.
• Molluscum is spread by skin-to-skin contact, and fabrics such as towels.
• If your child has molluscum, you don't need to keep them away from nursery or school, but you should discourage them from sharing their towels and clothes.
• Treatment is only usually recommended for older children/adults if the spots are unsightly and affecting quality of life.
• Squeezing the spots can be painful, cause bleeding, risk spreading infection and may cause scarring.
• Unlike measles, molluscum contagiosum isn't a notifiable disease.

In the UK, around 1% of children get molluscum.

A lot is still unknown about the condition, meaning that when a doctor diagnoses molluscum there is little information he or she can share with parents, such as how long the spots will last, or whether siblings will develop them, and whether certain activities will help or hinder recovery. 

For parents trying to work out if their child has molluscum, Cardiff University and dermatologists at University Hospital of Wales have developed a Molluscum Contagiosum Diagnostic Tool for Parents (MCDTP).

It uses the most effective images and text to support parents in making a diagnosis of Molluscum. You can use the tool at www.mosaic-study.co.uk.

Obviously, you will still need to have a diagnosis confirmed by your GP. 

 

 

 

Image: Shutterstock

Last updated: 24-Oct-2013 at 4:22 PM