If you have school age children, especially those who take part in physical extra-curricular activities or children in day care settings, this is a "common" skin condition which is also a viral infection that my daughter mysteriously contracted that says it's common but contagious. Here's the facts (credit American Academy of Dermatology) then you can hear my story and why I want you to know...
This skin disease is most often seen in children. People who live in a tropical climate also are more likely to get molluscum. The virus thrives in a warm, humid place. Having atopic dermatitis, the most common type of eczema, also increases the risk of getting molluscum contagiosum.
What causes molluscum contagiosum?
A virus causes molluscum.
There are 2 ways to get this virus:
- Touch something infected with the virus. You can get molluscum by using an infected towel. You can get it from touching infected clothing or toys. Wrestlers and gymnasts get it from touching infected mats.
- Have direct skin-to-skin contact. Children often get molluscum because they have lots of direct skin-to-skin contact with others. People who participate in contact sports such as wrestling get molluscum from the direct skin-to-skin contact. Teens and adults often get the virus through sexual contact.
Molluscum Contagiosum Treatment
Dermatologists often recommend treatment for molluscum contagiosum. Treatment helps to prevent the virus from:
- Spreading to other parts of your body.
- Spreading to other people.
- Growing out of control in people who have a weakened immune system.
- Treatment, however, may not be best for a young child. Treatment can have unwanted side effects for a young child. And the bumps often go away without treatment.
Although the bumps often go away without treatment, most people should be treated. And people who have a weakened immune system should definitely get treatment. The bumps will not go away without treatment if a person has a weakened immune system.
There are many treatment options. The treatment your dermatologist prescribes will depend on your age, health, where the bumps appear on your body, and other considerations.
Treatments that a dermatologist can perform in the office to treat molluscum contagiosum include:
- Cryosurgery: The dermatologist freezes the bumps with liquid nitrogen.
- Curettage: The dermatologist may use a small tool called a curette to scrape the bumps from the skin.
- Laser surgery: A dermatologist uses a laser to target and destroy the bumps. This can be an effective treatment for people who have a weakened immune system.
- Topical (applied to the skin) therapy: Your dermatologist can apply various acids and blistering solutions to destroy the bumps. These work by destroying the top layers of the skin. Tricholoracetic acid is often used to treat people who have a weak immune system and many bumps.
A topical medication was prescribed obviously given her age I wasn't about to let them burn or cut them off. The cream burned her neck too badly to continue after a week - she had a large scab in place of one of the bumps that I'm surprised didn't leave a scar. I decided to go back to the tea tree oil being all natural and it has been working. She still has breakouts which was to be expected (a year, remember?) which brought her to the nurse's office yesterday and a frantic phone call to me about needing a doctor note so my child could come back to school and why wasn't it in her record? To me, this is like putting on the record that she has herpes because she gets cold sores. Who wants that advertised? I was actually on the fence about it because as a parent, I would have liked to have known who it was that my daughter contracted this from. Maybe if they had it on their record...
Anyhow, I spent the rest of the afternoon on the phone between the school and the doctor's office which if you know about my phone skills or lack thereof...let's just say I was not a happy camper.
I gave the nurse the name to look up being that she's never heard of this "common" skin condition. The elementary school nurse you would think should have a clue about this condition that's so common among children right?
I left a message with the doctor's office who called back to say they want to see her again being that it's been a few months so I will be visiting both offices this morning to get things straightened out.
Who knows, maybe the school nurse will be out of frantic mode or maybe the doctor will give us a different diagnosis altogether.
Please tell me what you would do or would have done about this situation. I know the doctor will be trying to talk me back into the prescription medication which I am against - this to me is a bigger issue than the school nurse needing a little education or acting like this would be a school epidemic.
So tell me, what would you do?