Molluscum contagiosum is an infection of the skin that leads to small flesh-colored or pearly bumps. The bumps can be clear and the center is indented often times. A virus that spreads very easily causes this skin infection, but it is not harmful.

Symptoms of Infections

The bumps will be round in shape with a dimple at the center. As of size, they will be a little smaller than the eraser at the end of a pencil. They can appear in groups or alone and will not cause pain.

Usually, the bumps appear on the face, trunk, eyelids, or genital area. As the body fights the virus, the bumps can get inflamed and turn red. Moreover, people with a weak immune system will have many large bumps and will need special treatment. If you see any symptoms of infection in your body, visit an affordable health clinic in your locality to diagnose the infection.

Spread of the Infection

Generally, the infection spreads via skin-to-skin contact. Contact can be through touching the bumps and touching your skin or via sexual contact. Touching objects with the virus, like towels used by patients, can also make you infected.

The virus easily spreads from one part of the body to the other. The infection can be contagious until the disappearance of the bumps. The time from virus exposure to the appearance of the bumps is usually 2 to 7 weeks. However, in some of the cases, it can take up to six months for the appearance of the bumps.

To prevent spreading of the infection:

  • Do not scratch the bumps.
  • Try putting a piece of paper or bandage over the bumps.
  • Do not shave if the bumps are on your face.
  • Do not share washcloths and towels.
  • Avoid sex if the bumps are on your genital area.

Diagnosis and Treatment

The diagnosis of the infection includes a physical examination by a doctor. The doctor may collect samples of the bumps for testing, and if the bumps are present in the genital area, the doctor will recommend tests for other sexually transmitted infections like genital herpes.

In most cases, the infection does not need any treatment, as the bumps will disappear on their own in six to nine months. However, in some cases, the bumps may last for longer times and require you to undergo treatment options such as cryosurgery or cryotherapy.

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    About the Author

    Dr. Ghassan M. Al-Jazayrly, MD

    A graduate of University of Aleppo Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Al-Jazayrly or, as he is colloquially known: Dr. AJ, is an oncologist and hematologist of a Complete Care Community Health Center (CCCHC) with more than 36 years of experience. In recent years, he’s been involved with a non profit organization known as Every Woman Counts (EWC) which provides free breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services to California’s underserved populations in order to eliminate health disparities for low-income individuals.

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