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Peds Derm Corner- Molluscum- March 2017
Each month, Dr Swanson posts information about a common pediatric dermatology issue to educate patients and parents. This month, the topic is molluscum.
What do molluscum look like?
Molluscum are shiny skin colored-pink 1-2 mm bumps that frequently have a slight indentation or dell in the center.
What causes molluscum?
Molluscum are caused by a poxvirus that only infects skin cells.  It does not cause any systemic viral symptoms and is not a dangerous virus.
How did my child get molluscum?
Since molluscum are caused by a virus, they are contagious and most kids get it from other kids.  They are spread by direct contact and also are highly contagious in water.  A lot of kids pick up the virus by swimming in swimming pools.
How do I prevent my child from getting molluscum?
In some ways, molluscum is simply part of growing up and it is impossible to completely prevent your child from getting molluscum.  If one of your children already has molluscum, I recommend avoiding bathing that child with any of your other children since we know the virus spreads easily in water.  Besides that, I do not think any prevention strategies are necessary.
How can I treat the molluscum?
First of all, molluscum is a self limited viral infection and they will always go away on their own.  It can take up to 2 years for the molluscum to go away by themselves, but they do always go away so no treatment is required.  If treatment is desired, there are several treatment options.  One option is a treatment called candida.  Candida is a yeast that is normal flora in our mouth and groin area.  We can inject a little bit of the candida protein into ONE molluscum and it triggers the immune system to notice the molluscum and attack them.  Typically treatments are done every 3 weeks and it takes 3-5 treatments to have the molluscum gone.  Another treatment option is cantharidin (beetlejuice).  Cantharidin is applied in the office and works by causing blisters.  Although the blisters are typically small and painless, some children develop bigger, more uncomfortable blisters.  Prescription topical medications can be used including Veregen, Imiquimod, and Retin A.  And the molluscum can even be removed in the office with a technique called curettage.  Curettage is effective and removes the molluscum within minutes, but it is somewhat painful and does increase the risk of scarring.
In addition, some children get an eczema-like rash around their molluscum and it is important to treat that since the eczema rash leads to itching which leads to scratching which can spread the molluscum.
If you have any other questions regarding molluscum and how they are affecting your child, please schedule an appointment with Dr Swanson, our pediatric dermatologist.
What is a pediatric dermatologist?
A pediatric dermatologist is someone that has undergone extensive training to deal with the specific skin conditions and issues that affect children. Pediatric dermatologists have typically completed medical school, a general dermatology residency, and a pediatric dermatology fellowship. While all dermatologists receive some experience dealing with children with skin problems, a pediatricdermatologist has chosen to subspecialize and receive more extensive education and training with the pediatric population.