Molluscum Contagiosum

Archived Q&A and Reviews

10-year-old and 2-year-old both have molluscum

Jan 2009

I have a 10yr old daughter and a 2 yr old son both with molluscum's. I am trying to get rid of them because they are starting to bother my son. I am trying Zymaderm but it doesn't seem to be helping. Anyone with suggestions how I can get rid of them? roxy

My daughter had this when she was 2-3. It lasted almost a year. They were all over her legs and some on her torso-- yuck! They didn't bug her at all or need any special care until they would get irritated-- then we'd cover them with little bandaids until they'd fall off. So many tiny bandaids to reapply after each bath! She was in childcare at the time and none of the other kids ever got any, and our pediatrician told us not to worry about it, that we just had to wait for the virus to run its course. We were starting to feel like they would last forever when we took a trip to the beach-- the sand apparently irritated the little bumps just enough that they all fell off over the next couple of weeks. There was no trauma and no scarring and we were very glad to see the last of them! Best of luck with the bumps!
When my son had these on his knees, our pediatrician told us to ignore them and they would go away. They did not, in fact increased over the course of about a year. He became self- conscious and stopped wearing shorts. Finally we took him to a dermatologist, who explained to him that she could make them go away that day if he wanted, and that he could choose burning or freezing. He choose freezing, it only hurt a little, and they were all gone after the scabs fell off, never to come back. I was irritated that he had had to put up with them for a year, that the pediatrician had never suggested this treatment. mom
My two kids had this as well. I would not recommend leaving it as it will only get worse before it gets better. Our dermatologists at UCSF applied Cantharidin (or ''beetle juice'') onto the sores (which are really a virus like a wart). The ''spots'' would blister up and then the virus (which is contained inside a little pouch) falls out. They'll apply around 10 at a time and then come back for a second (or third or fourth) treatment until they are all gone. With my daughter it took 2 treatments and 4 with my son. You also have to make sure they don't get infected, our dr gave us an antibiotic ointment as well. Both my kids went to school during this time. If any of the sores are open, you should put a band aid and ointment on them. Good luck. Karen

Have you treated Molluscum contagiosum successfully?

March 2005

My son was just diagnosed with Molluscum Contagiosum, a viral infection that may last upwards of 5 years. He had one papule on his neck and it seems to be spreading. Now there are 3 bumps and a patch of new ones cropping up. His pediatrician recommended RetinA, and a few other things (keeping pillow cases & bedding clean, preventing scratching, etc.) but didn't give us an Rx or much hope for treatment. She said we should just wait it out. We have done some research on the web and there appears to be several topical treatments available. We know of adults who have had them burned off, but we don't want to go this route unless it is absolutely necessary due to the scarring involved. Has anyone out there had Molluscum and treated it successfully? If so, what did you do/use? Your recommendations are greatly appreciated. - a concerned mom

Hi, I am glad you are asking for help. Both my kids had Molluscum, one at 5 years old and the other at two. Both experiences were hard for us. I don't know how old your child is, and if he is little, the removal of the warts can be painfull or cause scaring. My oldest daughter had it betwen her legs and when we had Kaiser, the doctor burned the warts off with acid and the burns were awfull,the acid does not hurt, its the cause later, she had boils the size of dimes, she could not walk. Freezing them would be too painfull, at this age the doctor suggested so we went for the acid. Bad idea. If your kid is older, freezing might be better, it still huts a bit but the process is faster.

We had no playdates, no pants, no swimming in pools, no sharing anything with friends. If you talk about it to others and they find out it is contagious, watch out. Retin A might work, give it a try. For my daughter, after the trauma, we just waited a long time until they just went away. With my son, a different problem, the warts were on his face, neck, legs etc.I could not hide it!I had to stay home and care for him, had to pull him out of his day care so he wouldn't pass it on to other kids. I eventually changed medical plans and my new doctor removed the warts with a small knife,or little blade. Another traumatic experience, especially for the little 2,5 years old and me, BUT, they dissapeared after the scar was healed. We went through this for a few months, many warts removed, many tears, his and mine. But now he is five years old and doesn't remember and no more molluscum for more than 2 years now. He can swim, jump in the baths with friends, goes to preschool, every one is happy. We don't know how my kids got this, I researched everything in the internet and libraries. Maybe in a pool? We didn't know any one with it before. I hope you can talk to your doctor or a couple of them, everyone has a different aproach. Good luck and hang in there. anonimous

A few years ago I was diagnosed with Molluscum Contagiosum, I had two papules on his breasts and it spread to my torso and neck. I went to a very good dermatologist who recommended that I have them frozen/burned off...I was unhappy about the scarring on my breasts and neck as a result. A few years later they recurred and I asked my primary physician about them, indicated I didn't want to go throughg the freezing/scarring again. She said there was no reason to do so. She lanced them with an ordinary lancet, and covered them with little round band-aids. She instructed me to do the same at home with a sterile needle, and not to scratch or irritate the surrounding skin if possible. They went away within a week--no scars. --m
My son got Molluscum on this knees when he was 9 or so. Our pediatrician said to wait it out and to keep him from scratching and do the cleaning thing. It was hard to keep him from scratching, and they kept spreading till he had over a dozen. He didn't want to wear shorts because of them. After over a year had passed with no improvement, we took him to the dermatologist, who explained to him that she could make them go away quickly by burning or freezing -- he could choose. He choose freezing and it was not hard for him at all. And he was so glad to have them gone. I wish we had not waited so long. anne
Our experience with molluscum contagium was much different than the other posters. My son had it when he was around 18 months old. I think it lasted around 9 months. He had the warts on his torso. Our pediatrician explained that it is a virus that has to run its course but is pretty much harmless. There are things you can do to try to remove the warts, but, aside from cosmetic purposes, there's not much point. My son continued to go to daycare and have playdates, and I'm not aware of any of his friends coming down with it. It did eventually clear up on its own, and we haven't had an outbreak since
In response to help with molluscum. Our young daughter had molluscum on her neck and face for several years. Our pediatrician said that we had to just wait it out and it would eventually go away. One summer, while she was having a particularly bad outbreak, we vacationed at the beach in Ocean City, Maryland. This was her first time swimming in the ocean. We found the molluscum to improve after every session in the salt water. By the time our vacation was over, she was molluscum free and it hasn't returned in over 4 years.
March 2007
My 5yr old daughter has MC in the bend of her arm, opposite her elbow. I purchased some Silver Cure junk online that has done nothing at all for her, and the soap that was included contained cinnamon, which she is very allergic to.

After using the soap for the first time, my daughter's entire infected area became bright red and itched very severely. In a state of almost panic, I rifled through my first-aid kit and found some PDI Insect Bite pads. I ripped open the package and applied it to her arm hoping it would help with the itching. Not only did it stop the itching, continued application every night of a fresh pad for about 20 minutes caused the MC to dry up almost overnite and begin shrinking.

My initial thought was perhaps the silver crud was working, so when I ran out of PDI pads and discontinued the cinnamon soap, there was no more itching. I continued the silver cure treatment, and over the last two weeks, all of the MC that had dried up and from the PDI pads are returning, and she is now up to 15 bumps.

I am ordering more PDI Sting Pads immediately to see if they again help her condition. I wanted to share this tip for the other concerned parents I saw on your site. Thank you

Our two young children have fairly serious rashes

October 2003

Help- has anyone with young children experienced molluscum contagiosum? Our two children (both under 6) both have fairly serious rashes. Our pediatrician told us that the older one was probably infected in a swimming pool and then passed it to our younger child in the bathtub. It looks terrible, causes quite a bit of discomfort/itching and some pain. Our pediatrician told us to try applying benzoyl peroxide, but this has done nothing to improve the situation. I have searched the web and the parents' postings - does anyone have advice? Has anyone tried a treatment that worked successfully? Any help would be greatly appreciated. I have read that MC is extremely common in children under the age of 10 - yet I haven't come across any other children with it. I have read horror stories about children on swim teams being infected in mass. Although I have been told it will go away EVENTUALLY....what does this mean? It is hard to imagine this will happen.

Hi, my son had molluscum when he was about 6. After some unsuccessful treatment attempts by topicals, the dermatologist suggested a ''freezing'' treatment - some sort of nitrogen (?) treatment that he thought might be too painful for a young child. My son decided to go for it and it worked beautifully. It wasn't painful per se, just uncomfortable in that it was so cold. jared
We are physicians and puzzled by your ped's recommended use of Benzoyl Peroxide. I also think that you should be seeking a consultation with a dermatologist, whose purview MC is.

We opted to do a controlled, sterile scraping of the lesions (with sterile equipment) on the few lesions that my 3 year old son had. We first applied a topical anaesthetic so that he felt nothing. Ironically, he felt nothing whether we used the top. anaes. or not. The scraping stimulates an immunoresponse, which eradicates the lesions, completely, over a few weeks. We then applied a topical antibiotic to the area and covered it with a sterile dressing.

The layperson's alternative is expensive but effective powdered stuff that is prescription-only. Another option at the dermatologist is to use liquid nitrogen to freeze the little suckers; the freezing may hurt a little (or a lot), however. The MC also have the instinct to multiply logarithmically, I believe. My son only had a few molluscum--4, 6 lesions. As well, you may be missing the MC in the armpit, inguinal folds, etc. Therefore, I think that a board-certified dermatologist is the best alternative for addressing the MC. He or she will not only give you a few alternatives for treatment but also identify all of the MC, some of which could be hiding. The MC are contagious and not a sign of ill health or bad hygiene. (my kid is squeaky clean)

Also, be prepared for yucky exudate to come out of the MC, usually.

Consult a dermatologist
Believes in the specialist, BIGTIME

My son got molluscum over a year ago at age 4. At first the pediatrician didn't diagnose it correctly (he also had excema at the time) so the bumps spread. Then we were told the only treatment for young children was to wait it out -- although the bumps can last for years! Finally, a friend told us that their dermatologist had recommended Aldara cream, which is also used to treat genital warts. We saw a specialist, got a prescription, and used it religiously. I'm not sure it actually worked -- the bumps still took four more months to stop spreading and go away (it worked much faster on our friend's child). We had to renew the Aldara about 7 times, worried the whole time about using this type of anti-viral medicine on a small child. The good news is -- the bumps do eventually go away, leaving no scars. It just takes time. I'd be curious to know others experience. Good luck! Elizabeth
My son had this when he was a little over a year old. It didn't seem to bother him, but it looked just awful. Our pediatrician recommended a few things -- rubbing alcohol, scrubbing with a loofah -- and said that there were more extreme things he could do if the rash became more or a problem. (Maybe scraping them off?) But, basically, you just have to wait it out. I think my son had it about 9 months, but that it can last up to 18 months. Sounds like a long time, I know, but at this point, I barely remember that he had it...
My younger son (then 9) had a terrible outbreak of mc when he was on a swim team. Until then I'd never even heard of this. I had no idea of the connection until reading your post yet i suspected it.

He had them all over his chest and they quickly multiplied and spread - lightning fast. I took him to our dermatologist who took a mulitfaceted approach to getting rid of them and it worked quite effectively - but over time, as there's no immediate cure.

First, to prevent spread to the rest of your family, don't share towels and washcloths and be rigourous hand washers - they are super contagious.

First we irritated, (or the dr. irritated) the warts by taking off the pimple-like heads. You should use medical gloves to do this and wash very carefully before and after. They will be red, and sore. This stimulates the immune system to attack them. Then we applied a common wart medication you can purchase over the counter - it's salicylic acid, called Duofilm. It paints on with a little brush and smells like nail polish. This process hurts and your kids won't like it. I felt awful but we did it anyway. We saw the dr. several times over the next few weeks and he used the liquid nitrogen burn on the most persistent warts - several appts. burning off 20 or more each time. Then we followed up with a prescription med. cream called Aldara. Eventually, the warts all disappeared. And my poor kid had probably 100 of them. He was very cooperative and put up with some serious hurting but he was just as glad to get rid of these little monsters. And, we managed to not spread them to anyone else in our house. Phew! You may not wish to be so aggressive about it - but you can selectively use some of these approaches, especially considering how young your children are, you probably want to take a gentler approach. Definitely see a dermatologist for the best advice. No More Spots

My 3 yo had a case that resulted in large itchy pimples around his armpits and on his arms. It really bothered him so we used little dots of retin A on them and within a couple of weeks they popped and healed. That was the end of it. Lisa
My son (now five) had a pretty good case of Molluscum on his bottom. It wasn't going away on it's own as we were told it should. It started out as just a pimple looking thing and then spread to his thighs and lower back. They never dried up because he was in diapers at the time. We were referred to Dr. Linda Beets-Shay (pediatric dermatologist) at Oakland Kaiser. She put some solution on them and covered them with little round band-aids which we were instructed to take off after a couple of hours (as far as I can recall). The warts dried up, crusted over and went away, never to return! The process didn't bother our guy at all! He was around one or one and a half at the time. Good luck. Amy

My 2.5 year old has molluscum on his neck

September 2002

I have a 2 and1/2 year old with molluscum on his neck. Any one out there knows about how to deal with this problem? We've read so much about it, the doctors all seem to have so many diferent ideas on how to treat or not treat the problem. Any ideas?thanks,Valerie

Editor note: this was asked last year and no one replied. Here is the question from July 2001, for what it's worth:

Has anyone out there dealt with molluscum contagiosum with their kids? My son has had it for about 6 months and it isn't spreading very much. He has a patch on his knee pit, two small areas on his back, and one on his upper back (although I just spotted one in his diaper region, yesterday). Anyhow, it doesn't seem to bother him and the dr. said it will go away on it's own in 12-18 months, but he his getting spots of eczema around the molluscum patches. My dr. gave me a triamcinolone, which is a mild prescription hydrocortisone cream. When we use it the eczema disappears, so we stop using it and within 2 the eczema is back again. Any ideas? Does this really go away on its own? Does anyone no some natural remedies? Thanks

Hi, I assume we're talking about the same molluscum - kind of wart-like growths on the skin? If so, my son had this for almost a year. None of the topicals worked. The only thing that worked was ''freezing'' them off which I doubt they would do for a 2 year old. My son was 6, is fairly tough, and took it pretty well. Apparently most young children don't. Anonymous
This sounds like what my son had. It looks bad and the name is awful, but it's pretty harmless. We got the same response from our pediatrician - that it will go away on it's own and not to worry about it. When the condition worsened, I pressed our pediatrician and he offered a few things to try (like scrubbing the bumps really well) He also gave us a prescription for a topical ointment but pointed out that it would be pretty tough to apply it to all the bumps on my squirmy toddler. We never tried the ointment, because the condition started clearing up on its own. I'd say he had it for close to 12 months. The bumps never spread past his torso and never seemed to bother him. I had forgotten all about until I read this posting! Ellen
I've read a couple of replies to your post and noticed that no one has mentioned that this disease is contageous (hence ''contagiosum''). It is caused by a virus and can be transmitted by direct contact, and very likely by indirect contact such as shared bedding, towels, furniture, etc. Our pediatric dermatologist suggested keeping our 12 mo. old clear of this kind of contact with a visiting child who has the condition. By the way, this child's condition was finally helped by having many of the warts removed by the dermatologist (she was 8 years old, though). Anon