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Molluscum Contagiosum in Children

Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 6, 2024.

What is molluscum contagiosum?

Molluscum contagiosum is a skin infection. It is caused by a pox virus. Molluscum contagiosum is most common in children 1 to 10 years of age. It is more common among children who have trouble fighting infections. This includes children with a weak immune system.

How is molluscum contagiosum spread?

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

What are the signs and symptoms of molluscum contagiosum?

Your child may not have symptoms for weeks to months after the virus has entered his or her body. Your child will have small, raised bumps on his or her skin. The bumps are firm, smooth, and look like warts. They may be white or pink. Each bump may have a small indent in the center. A cheese-like white fluid may drain from the bumps. Bumps may appear on your child's face, arms, legs, abdomen, or chest. They may become itchy, sore, or swollen.

How is molluscum contagiosum diagnosed?

Your child's healthcare provider will examine your child's skin. The provider may take a scraping from one of the bumps and look at it under a microscope.

How is molluscum contagiosum treated?

Molluscum contagiosum may go away without treatment. It may take months to years for the bumps to go away. Your child may need a cream, gel, or pill to help the bumps go away. Your child may need the bumps removed by a laser, freezing them (cryosurgery), or scraping them off. A medicine called liquid nitrogen may be used to freeze the bumps.

Treatment options

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

What should I do to prevent the spread of molluscum contagiosum?

Where can I find more information?

When should I contact my child's healthcare provider?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. 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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