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  • Select from over 100 symptoms to read more about managing your child's illness.

    Is Your Child Sick? TM


    Molluscum

    Is this your child's symptom?

    • Small raised growths that have a smooth, waxy surface
    • The medical name is molluscum contagiosum
    • Viral infection of the skin
    • A doctor has told you your child has molluscum or
    • Your child has had close contact with another person who has it

    Symptoms of Molluscum

    • Small bumps with a waxy or pearl-colored, smooth surface
    • May have a dimple (indent) in center
    • Bumps are firm with a core of white material.
    • Are many different sizes, from pinhead to ¼ inch (3 to 6 mm) across
    • Can occur anywhere on the body, but usually stay in just one area
    • Are sometimes itchy, but not painful
    • Usually age 2 to 12 years
    • Most infected children get 5 to 10 of them

    Cause of Molluscum

    • They are caused by a poxvirus. This is a different virus than the one that causes warts.
    • Friction or picking at them causes them to increase in number.

    To Treat or Not to Treat?

    • Some doctors advise not treating them if there are only a few. Reason: They are harmless and painless.
    • They have a natural tendency to heal and go away on their own.

    When Special Treatment is Considered

    • Your child picks at them
    • They are in areas of friction (for example, the armpit)
    • They are spreading quickly or
    • You feel they are a cosmetic problem

    Prevent Spread to Others

    • Avoid baths or hot tubs with other children. Reason: Can spread in warm water.
    • Also, avoid sharing washcloths or towels.
    • Contact sports: Can spread to other team members. They should be covered or treated.
    • Time it takes to get them: 4 to 8 weeks after close contact.

    When to Call for Molluscum

    When to Call for Molluscum

    Call Doctor or Seek Care Now

    • Redness or red streak spreading from molluscum with fever
    • Your child looks or acts very sick

    Call Doctor Within 24 Hours

    • Redness or red streak spreading from molluscum without fever
    • You think your child needs to be seen

    Call Doctor During Office Hours

    • Molluscum on the face
    • 4 or more molluscum
    • Your child can't stop picking at the molluscum
    • Pus is draining from the molluscum (Apply antibiotic ointment 3 times per day until seen)
    • On treatment more than 2 weeks and new molluscum appear
    • On treatment more than 12 weeks and molluscum not gone
    • You have other questions or concerns

    Self Care at Home

    • Molluscum: 3 or less

    Call Doctor or Seek Care Now

    • Redness or red streak spreading from molluscum with fever
    • Your child looks or acts very sick

    Call Doctor Within 24 Hours

    • Redness or red streak spreading from molluscum without fever
    • You think your child needs to be seen

    Call Doctor During Office Hours

    • Molluscum on the face
    • 4 or more molluscum
    • Your child can't stop picking at the molluscum
    • Pus is draining from the molluscum (Apply antibiotic ointment 3 times per day until seen)
    • On treatment more than 2 weeks and new molluscum appear
    • On treatment more than 12 weeks and molluscum not gone
    • You have other questions or concerns

    Self Care at Home

    • Molluscum: 3 or less

    Care Advice for Molluscum

    1. What You Should Know About Molluscum:
      • They are harmless and painless.
      • Wart-removing acids are not helpful.
      • Duct tape treatment will make them go away faster.
      • Here is some care advice that should help.
    2. Duct Tape - Cover the Molluscum:
      • Covering them with duct tape can irritate them. This turns on the body's immune system.
      • Cover as many of them as possible. (Cover at least 3 of them.)
      • The covered ones become red and start to die. When this happens, often all of them will go away.
      • Try to keep them covered all the time.
      • Remove the tape once per day, usually before bathing. Then replace it after bathing.
      • Some children don't like the tape on at school. At the very least, tape it every night.
    3. Prevent the Spread to Other Areas of Your Child's Body:
      • Discourage your child from picking at them.
      • Picking it and scratching a new area with the same finger can spread them. A new one can form in 1 to 2 months.
      • Chewing or sucking on them can lead to similar bumps on the face.
      • If your child is doing this, cover them. You can use a bandage (such as Band-Aid).
      • Keep your child's fingernails cut short and wash your child's hands more often.
    4. What to Expect:
      • Without treatment, they go away in 6 to 18 months.
      • If covered with duct tape, they may go away in 2 or 3 months.
      • If picked at often, they can become infected with bacteria. If this happens, they change into crusty sores (impetigo).
    5. Return to School:
      • Your child doesn't have to miss any child care or school.
      • There is a mild risk of spread to others.
    6. Call Your Doctor If:
      • Your child continues to pick at them
      • New ones develop after 2 weeks of treatment
      • They are still present after 12 weeks of treatment
      • You think your child needs to be seen

    And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the 'Call Your Doctor' symptoms.

    Disclaimer: this health information is for educational purposes only. You, the reader, assume full responsibility for how you choose to use it.

    Copyright 2000-2019 Schmitt Pediatric Guidelines LLC.

    Molluscum Contagiosum

    This shows an infection from the molluscum contagiosum virus. Molluscum is sometimes called a "water wart." The growths are pink, white or pearly-colored. They are firm, small and raised with a dimple in the middle.

    Molluscum Contagiosum - Eye

    This shows an eye with an infection from the molluscum contagiosum virus. The growths are pink, white or pearly-colored. They are firm, small and raised with a dimple in the middle.

    Molluscum

    This shows an infection from the molluscum contagiosum virus. Molluscum is sometimes called a "water wart." The growths are pink, white or pearly-colored. They are firm, small and raised with a dimple in the middle.