What Is Molluscum Contagiosum? Treatment and Home Remedies
Molluscum contagiosum is a contagious skin infection, which is mostly seen in children and the elderly. The infection comes with uneven bumps on the skin, which get bigger in size. The bumps are itchy and develop blisters when scratched.
Sexually active adults are usually affected by this skin infection. People with a weak immune system are also at risk of contracting the infection.
Signs and symptoms
The first signs and symptoms of molluscum contagiosum are in a form of small painless papules that look like raised bumps or lumps on the skin. They resemble pinkish nodules with skin redness on the affected area. Some nodules contain a dimple in the center. Most of the lesions are small in size, which is about 2-5 mm in diameter. The internal part of the nodule looks cheesy with a whitish core.
The lesions sometimes become itchy, sore, and reddish when scratched. The lesions can appear on any part of the body such as the face, mouth, arms, legs, or genital area. It can affect the skin with uneven lesions in three different stages. The first stage is when it appears as small whitish or reddish bumps over the skin. Within a few weeks, the bumps get bigger to about 2-5 mm or more.
The second stage is when the lesions start showing a whitish pus head, which can burst anytime. The patients are advised not to scratch or pop the pus-filled bumps to avoid making them painful and bloody. Stage three is when the bumps burst and craters develop into bigger-sized reddish sores, which get infected with other harmful microorganisms.
Molluscum contagiosum is the most common wart-like skin infection. The infection is mainly caused by a DNA poxvirus known as Molluscum contagiosum. The virus can affect children and adults.
The main symptoms of molluscum contagiosum are dome-shaped bumps all over the genital area, inner thighs, belly, underarms, neck, and hands. Most of the time, these bumps are painless. However, they are often itchy.
The skin infection is contagious and can easily spread through direct contact with a person who has the infection or by sharing contaminated clothes, beddings, or towels.
1) Apple cider vinegar
Make use of apple cider vinegar, which is popularly known for its antibacterial and antiviral properties. It is a useful remedy, which is very effective and safe to babies and children since it does not have any side effects.
The best way to use apple cider vinegar is to apply it over the bumps repeatedly until the skin completely recovers.
Catechu is also a highly useful remedy, which offers early recovery. The catechu paste is effective in controlling the growth of bumps by drying them completely. The paste can be applied directly over every bump and let it dry for a while. Repeat the process until each bump starts to get smaller and dry. The remedy is easy and effective and offers better results.
Neem is popular for its healing properties among plants and shrubs. It can help cleanse the body by removing harmful toxins and pesticides. Neem is a plant with green leaves, which are effective in relieving injuries and other health issues.
It works effectively on all types of infections. Neem leaves are boiled in water for 5 minutes. Let the boiled water cool down before applying it all over the injuries and bumps. Neem is also used for oral and skin infections.
4) Coconut oil
Coconut oil is beneficial in treating a variety of skin diseases and infections. Coconut oil possesses antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Molluscum contagiosum can be cured within a short span when coconut oil is applied all over the bumps and affected skin areas. The main advantage of using coconut oil is that it is easily available and offers relief from constant scratching.
5) Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil works faster because of its powerful antimicrobial properties. By applying tea tree oil, the bumps will gradually fade and disappear.
Garlic is considered to be highly beneficial for the skin, hair, and other health problems. Cut the garlic into pieces and place them over the bumps until they start to dry. Repeat the process every day until the bumps disappear.
7) Olive oil
Olive oil is also useful in treating molluscum contagiosum. Olive oil can help the skin revive its natural smoothness and softness. It also helps make the skin glow.
8) Sea salt
It is one of the easiest, most common, and economical way of dealing with molluscum contagiosum. Using sea salt can easily clean skin impurities. The skin is also made stronger and smoother in no time.
Sea salt is mainly preferred if the bumps are getting itchy and bigger in size. You can mix sea salt with olive oil. Such combination makes the medicine more powerful leading to an immediate recovery.
9) Baking soda
Baking soda is a common home remedy for a variety of diseases. Molluscum contagiosum can be dealt with the help of baking soda when it is mixed with warm water. Apply the mixture to the affected skin areas.
Diagnosing molluscum contagiosum
The presumptive diagnosis is mainly based on the overall history of the patient and physical examination. A skin biopsy can provide more details about the infection and is considered as a definitive diagnosis.
A skin biopsy can help distinguish molluscum contagiosum from other skin infections such as genital warts (HPV), hives, or folliculitis.
How to get rid of the infection
Most cases of molluscum contagiosum can be left untreated since the infection tends to go away on its own. The bumps usually disappear after 2-3 months. However, new bumps can replace the old ones, so other individuals can still have the infection for 6 months or more. Other people can even have the infection for as long as four years.
Aside from home remedies, doctors can recommend treatments to remove the bumps more quickly. Some of the treatments include:
- The removal of the pus-filled center through squeezing the bumps using tweezers or scalpel.
- Freezing the bumps (cryotherapy)
- Scraping the bumps (curettage)
- The application of creams containing cantharidin, salicylic acid, and tretinoin
- Application of other wart medications
- Giving oral cimetidine
Doctors usually do not recommend the above-mentioned treatments to children since they can cause painful skin burns as well as skin discoloration and scarring of the skin.
Sometimes, the type of treatment depends on the affected area of the skin and the number of skin lesions. If the lesions are causing more discomforts such as itching, some adults request the above-mentioned treatments.