What is molluscum contagiosum?
Molluscum contagiosum is a common skin infection characterised by round, firm, or hard painless bumps; they can vary in size from a pinhead to a pencil eraser. When scratched, the infection will likely spread to the adjacent skin areas. Molluscum contagiosum can be spread via contact with infected items and bodily contact.
What are the symptoms of Molluscum contagiosum?
This particular skin infection causes skin bumps that are:
- Round, raised and covered in flesh
- Reddish and inflamed, in some scenarios
- Likely to occur on your arms, armpits, face, neck, and top of kids’ hands
- Likely to occur on the genitals, lower abdomen, and inner and upper thighs in adults, particularly if the disease was contracted sexually
- Fairly small, generally under 6millimeters in diameter
- Easily removable via rubbing, or scratching, which in turn, can exacerbate the spread of the disease
How is Molluscum contagiosum transmitted in Singapore?
Molluscum contagiosum is spread through:
- Skin-to-skin contact with a person who already has Molluscum contagiosum
- Sexual contact
- Contact sports e.g. wrestling, football
- Towels, clothing, toys, or any other infected objects
- Touching, scratching, or shaving an infected bump and then touching another different part of your body
How is this Molluscum contagiosum diagnosed?
Doctors can easily tell if you have Molluscum contagiosum simply because the infection usually causes bumps with a distinctive appearance.
While your dermatologist can easily diagnose the infection through a clinical examination, a skin biopsy or scraping is key to verifying your diagnosis. It is imperative to note that a confirmed diagnosis will prove useful in eliminating other skin infections with similar symptoms, such as skin cancer, chickenpox, or even warts.
How is Molluscum contagiosum treated in Singapore?
|Cryotherapy||Involves freezing the affected skin areas using liquid hydrogen to effectively remove the bumps|
Takes around five seconds to completely eliminate one spot
A layer of ice is placed on top of the spot and the surrounding skin areas
Based on the severity of your condition, your doctor may recommend that you go for more sessions of treatment to entirely remove and curb the infection
|Curettage||Gets rid of the spots by scraping them off with the help of a spoon-looking device referred to as a curette|
Your doctor may administer a local anesthetic before conducting this treatment procedure
|Diathermy||Involves the use of heat to remove the infection from your skin|
Your doctor may first have to numb the affected skin areas using a local anesthetic before using a heated electrical device to safely burn off the unwanted bumps
|Topical therapy||Most straightforward treatment|
Requires your doctor to apply a topical cream that features acids or any other chemical to safely and effectively remove the lesions
Bearing in mind that all the above treatment options involve treating one bump or spot at a time, you may need multiple treatment options to completely get rid of the infection.
Note: It is also imperative to note that newer bumps may appear even as the existing ones get treated!
How can you curb the spread of Molluscum contagiosum?
There are a few things you can do to help curb the spread of the virus, including:
- Regularly washing your hands: Keeping your hands clean may help prevent the spread of the virus.
- Keeping your hands away from the bumps: Touching the infected areas can also trigger the spread of the infection.
- Avoid sexual contact: If you already have the infection, it is highly advisable that you refrain from sex until all your bumps are treated
- Covering the bumps: Always cover the bumps caused by the infection with clothing, especially when around other people to prevent direct contact. You should only leave the affected areas exposed when you are not around people. When you go to the pool, cover your bumps using a watertight bandage.
What is the general outlook of Molluscum contagiosum?
In most people the lesions will usually disappear on their own without treatment within two years; however, some people continue to have the infection for an extended period. Treating the disease ensures the lesions clear faster, but the bumps may reappear after treatment. What’s more, it is very possible to contract the disease again, leading to the formation of new spots!
As opposed to other skin conditions such as chickenpox, if you have had Molluscum contagiosum and treated it, you are not protected from a second infection. Even after having a successful treatment, it is likely that you could potentially suffer another infection. And this is why you are strongly advised to always continue practicing the necessary precautions to protect yourself!
In adults, this particular skin infection is considered a sexually transmitted disease – only because you can get it via sexual contact. Butyou don’t necessarily need to have sex to catch or spread the virus. Mollluscum contagiosum can be transmitted through body-to-body contact with an infected individual as well as by coming into contact with an infected object or item.
The Molluscum contagiosum virus belongs to the poxvirus family, which is, obviously, not similar to the HPV that triggers warts. Regardless, these two conditions are often looked at from the same perspective because they are extremely contagious viral diseases that cause lesions on your skin.