What are Molluscs?

Two siblings are playing in the bath, one is squirting the other

Molluscum contagiosum (or molluscs) is a pox virus seen in children aged 2-12, that produces a number of wart-like bumps (molluscs) on the skin.  They may appear in clusters around a patch of eczema or dry skin.

The virus is contagious and spreads through direct contact, shared items such as towels, and via swimming pools.  It is also spread easily among siblings.  The molluscs are up to 6mm in size, and may be shiny, with a white waxy centre.  It is common to see these spots on arms, armpits, legs, trunk, groin, face, neck, chest, lower tummy – in fact anywhere except the palms of the hands, and soles of the feet.

The viral infection may last up to two years, though 9 months is more common.  The main thing to do is to let the spots be – just let them do their own thing, and the infection will resolve itself with time.

However it is common that the mollusc might “burst” and shows signs of inflammation all on its own – you might see it become red, sore and swollen.  If this happens, encourage your child not to touch it by covering it with a dressing.  We also recommend Crystaderm to prevent further infection when you see this eruption start.  The spots in fact will heal and go away with time.  Make sure your child has plenty of rest, and good tucker to prevent becoming run-down.

The most important thing is to prevent scarring – don’t touch, itch or scratch at the mollusc.  Come and talk to the pharmacist  if you think the molluscs are excessive, widespread or causing your child to feel unwell.  #heretohelp