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- Molluscum contagiosum facts
- What is molluscum contagiosum?
- Is molluscum contagiosum contagious?
- What is the incubation period for molluscum contagiosum?
- How long does the infection with molluscum contagiosum last? When does a person become noncontagious?
- What causes molluscum contagiosum?
- What are risk factors for molluscum contagiosum?
- What are molluscum contagiosum symptoms and signs?
- How do physicians diagnose molluscum contagiosum?
- What is the treatment for molluscum contagiosum?
- What type of doctors treat molluscum contagiosum?
- Are there any home remedies for molluscum contagiosum?
- What is the prognosis of molluscum contagiosum?
- Is it possible to prevent molluscum contagiosum?
What are molluscum contagiosum symptoms and signs?
The first signs and symptoms of molluscum contagiosum are small painless papules (raised bumps or lumps) on the skin. It often appears as a raised, pearly pinkish nodule or redness on the skin; some nodules contain a dimple in the center. Most lesions are small, about 2-5 mm in diameter. Inside the nodule, sometimes there is a cheesy whitish core. The lesions may become itchy, sore, and reddened if scratched. The lesions can appear anywhere on the body (face, mouth, genital area, penis, or vagina, for example). The skin lesions may go through three stages; the first is a small whitish and/or reddish bump on the skin. Over a few weeks, the bumps can enlarge to about 2-5 mm with a whitish pus head that develops into a small crater when it bursts (stage 2; patients are advised not to attempt "popping" these pus-containing bumps or pimples). Stage 3 is when the burst craters develop into reddish sores that can be infected with other organisms (secondary infections).
How do physicians diagnose molluscum contagiosum?
Presumptive diagnosis is based on the person's history and physical exam. A skin biopsy or tissue scraping that shows the viral infection is a definitive diagnosis usually made by a pathologist. This definitive diagnosis is sometimes helpful to distinguish molluscum contagiosum from other skin problems like herpes, genital warts (HPV), hives, or folliculitis.