MOLLUSCUM CONTAGIOSUM SIGNS AND SYMPTOMSAdults can be infected by the virus as well, especially adults in close contact with an infected child. When adults are attacked by molluscum contagiosum, the genitals are affected, and the classification of disease shift to sexually transmitted. Most adults who contract the illness already live with an altered or malfunctioning immune system.
Medical treatment is necessary to prevent further spread. Person to person contact as well as person to object to person contact is the fastest method of spreading molluscum contagiosum.
The most noticeable sign of this viral infection is the sudden appearance of small bumps on the skin. These little papules measure only 2 to 5 millimeters in diameter, but can be relatively uncomfortable for the patient. An indentation or a small dot at the top of the papule distinguishes it from other types of bumps and infections. Redness is a sign of excessive inflammation associated with these papules, and they are highly susceptible to being scratched open, even by something as simple as drying off with a towel after a shower or bath.
Children tend to display their papules along the armpits, arms, hands, face, and neck. Adults may find papules in these areas as well, but many adults find their only papules are located along the genitals, the upper thighs, and the lower abdomen. While adults with molluscum contagiosum should be screened for any additional sexually transmitted diseases, this particular virus has nothing to do with genital warts, although it is often misconstrued as such.
Image: Molluscum Contagiosum
MOLLUSCUM CONTAGIOSUM CAUSESThe virus known as molluscum contagiosum is a member of the poxvirus family, and is the sole cause of the disease by the same name. Just like all viruses, it is spread through living viral contact, meaning that the live virus must reach a new host in order to continue spreading the illness. Whether spread sexually or spread through innocent contact, the disease is most often spread when a papules is touched and the resulting bursting open allows more of the virus to escape, either to the skin of the original host or the skin of a new host.
For patients with normally healthy immune systems, the virus will fully dissolve in about 12 to 18 months, with a few cases showing no signs of current infection within the first 6 months. Of course, with the ability to chronically re-contaminate oneself, it is possible to continuously allow the virus to spread to the surrounding areas of skin, making the process of ridding the virus from the body much more difficult.
MOLLUSCUM CONTAGIOSUM TREATMENTMany physicians choose to offer one of several options to help stop the spread and contamination associated with the virus. Physicians may choose to freeze the papules, ultimately killing the virus inside while simultaneously removing the papules. Other physicians may choose laser therapy for removal, surgical removal, or curettage or scraping the papules from the body. Treatment is especially important for adults, who can spread the virus to their sexual partners just as easily as it can spread to their children and other family members and friends. The same medicine used in the removal of warts can often do when there are fewer options for medical treatment.
The rash itself isn’t known to offer the patient a tremendous itch, but eczema or dermatitis can often be associated with molluscum contagiosum when these skin conditions developa round the papules. For patients with unhealthy immune systems or for those who are already suffering from a skin disorder, treatment becomes much more difficult. In cases such as these, the disease may progress to highly unusual stages, and in some rare cases, severe intensive therapies and medical assistance is required.
Patients who are infected should attempt to go to great lengths to avoid reinfection or infecting someone else. The papules should not be touched, not even with a razor during routine shaving. Sexual contact is highly discouraged as this is one of the fastest ways to spread the disease among adults. The patient’s personal belonging, such as clothes, hairbrushes, and the like, should not be shared even with another infected individual. Patients should get ample rest, fluids, and a good dose of immuno boosting nutrition.