If you have kids, then at least one of them has or will most likely get molluscum. But the good news is that this benign viral skin infection is treatable and pretty harmless.
Three of my four boys have had molluscum as toddlers. At first, I was like, “What are those bumps?” and then I was like, “Why won’t those bumps ever go away?” So, if you’re in the same boat as me, here’s the down low on this skin infection and how to treat it.
What is molluscum?
Well, let’s ask the professionals. According to the Centers for Disease Control, molluscum contagiosum is an infection caused by a poxvirus. The result of the infection is usually a benign, mild skin disease characterized by lesions (growths) that may appear anywhere on the body. Within 6-12 months, molluscum typically resolves without scarring but may take as long as 4 years.
Basically, these small bumps start showing up. They can actually appear anywhere on the body, but are common on the back. As the infection progressive, the small white bumps may become itchy, red and sometimes swollen like in the picture below.
How do you treat molluscum?
I got some bad advice on this one. When my first son got this virus, his pediatrician told me to put little squares of duct tape on the lesions. Eventually, he said it would irritate the lesions enough for them to become red and swollen and heal quicker. In theory I could see how maybe this would work, but I didn’t want to cause any more pain to my own child.
The CDC on the other hand advices that you don’t have to do anything and it will just go away. However, if you are worried about it spreading or it’s in an openly visible spot on the body, there are some alternatives.
ZymaDerm (topical treatment)
ZymaDerm is a plant-based anti-viral topical treatment. If you apply it twice a day to each lesion for at least a month, the lesions should go away. With more than 1500 reviews on Amazon, most of them were very positive. However, you have to be consistent.
Cimetidine (oral medicine)
I haven’t tried cimetidine, but it’s geared specifically towards children. The US National Library of Medicine had 13 pediatric patients use this medicine over the course of two months and all but three of them were free of the lesions. So this might be a good option for those wiggly kids who don’t want to sit still for the topical medicine.
Other options for treatment
For adults, some people have considered cryotherapy but I wouldn’t recommend it for kids. There are also treatments for immunocompromised patients. Click here for complete details on both.
How do you prevent the spread of molluscum?
Remember that the virus lives only in the skin and once the lesions are gone, the virus is gone and you cannot spread the virus to others according to the CDC. Tell you kids not to pick at the sores and make sure they wash their hands often. Also, don’t let your kid take a bath with their siblings. That will spread it pretty quick.
If your kid is going swimming or participating in a sport in which they share the same equipment (like gymnastics or wrestling), cover the lesions with bandaging.
Don’t stress out too much. It’s a relatively mild virus. It’s just annoying really. Eventually the lesions will go away. Here’s some other common ailments in kids and how to treat them:
- The one thing that finally helped my son’s eczema
- 10 items every mother needs to care for sick kids
- Flu remedies for kids
What have you found that works to treat molluscum? Leave your comments below.
Related link: 10 tips to a germ-free home (advice from a real mom)