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Molluscum Contagiosum

Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 1, 2023.


Molluscum contagiosum

is a skin infection. It is caused by a pox virus. This disease is more common among people who have trouble fighting infections. This includes people with a weak immune system.

How molluscum contagiosum is spread:

Molluscum contagiosum is contagious, which means it can be easily spread to others. It can spread when a person touches the skin of an infected person or through sex. It can also be spread on items that an infected person has used, such as clothes or washcloths. You can spread the infection to other parts of your body. This can happen after you touch an infected area and then touch somewhere else on your body.

Common signs and symptoms include the following:

You may not have symptoms for weeks to months after the virus has entered your body. You will see small, raised bumps on your skin. The bumps are firm, smooth, and look like warts. They may be white or pink. Each bump may have an indent in the center. The bumps may drain a cheese-like white fluid. You may see bumps on your face, eyelids, inner thighs, abdomen, or genitals. The bumps may become itchy, sore, or swollen.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever.
  • Your bumps become swollen, red, painful, or drain pus.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Treatment for molluscum contagiosum

may include medicine to treat the skin infection and prevent it from spreading. Medicine may be given as a pill, cream or a gel. You may also need medicine to help your body fight the infection if your immune system is weak. You may need to have the bumps removed by a laser, freezing them (cryotherapy), or by scraping them off.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

Prevent the spread of molluscum contagiosum:

  • Wash your hands. Always wash your hands after touching the infected area. Also wash your hands after you use the bathroom. If no water is available, use germ-killing hand lotion or gel to clean your hands. Alcohol-based hand lotion or gel works best.
  • Do not share personal items with others. Do not share items that have come in contact with bumps or sores. Examples are clothing, bedding, towels, and washcloths. Ask your healthcare provider how to clean or wash these items.
  • Do not have close contact with others. Do not play contact sports, such as wrestling or football. Do not have sex until the bumps are all gone. Sleep in your own bed until the bumps are gone. You can return to work or school if you keep your bumps covered.
  • Keep your bumps covered. Cover the bumps with a bandage as directed. Wear clothing that covers the bandage. Cover your bumps with a watertight bandage before you swim in a pool or hot tub. You can uncover your bumps before you go to bed.
  • Do not scratch, pick, or shave infected areas. This may spread the bumps to other parts of your body. It may also increase the risk of spreading the bumps to others.

Follow up with your doctor as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© Copyright Merative 2023 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.