How do you treat molluscum?

Q: My child has molluscum. What's the best way to treat it?

A: Molluscum is caused by a viral skin infection that usually results in small pink or flesh-toned round bumps. It mostly affects school-age children, since they tend to share common spaces and toys. Molluscum bumps are harmless (though contagious) and usually clear up on their own over six to nine months.

Although some doctors recommend waiting it out and letting the infection pass naturally, many prefer to treat the bumps sooner since they can spread from one part of the body to another -- or from one child to another -- and it's easier to treat when the rash is relatively contained. This especially goes for children with eczema, who risk having the rash spread into their areas of eczema.

Most likely, your doctor will prescribe a topical medication to clear the rash. Other options, which were more common years ago, can be painful and traumatic for young kids. These include freezing off the rash with liquid nitrogen or using a small scraping instrument called a curette to manually remove the bumps.

Copyright 2009

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