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Molluscum Contagiosum: Care Instructions


Molluscum contagiosum is a skin infection caused by a virus. It causes small pearly or flesh-coloured bumps. The bumps may itch. It can also cause a rash. The virus spreads easily but is usually not harmful. However, the infection can be serious in people with a weak immune system.

Molluscum contagiosum is most common in young children. But it can also happen in teens and adults.

Without treatment, the infection usually goes away within 6 to 18 months. In some cases, it may take several years for it to go away. You may want treatment if the bumps bother you or you want to keep them from spreading. Treatments include removing the bumps or freezing or putting medicine on them. Treatment depends on where the bumps are. Bumps in the genital area are usually treated.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Don't share personal items, like towels, razors, hairbrushes, and face cloths. And don't share clothing or any type of sports gear, like helmets or goggles.
  • If you have any visible bumps, make sure that they are covered.
  • Take steps to avoid spreading the bumps to other parts of the body. For example, avoid shaving near the bumps. And don't scratch or try to remove the bumps.
  • Do not have sex if you have bumps in your genital area. Your doctor may recommend treatment to help you avoid spreading them to a sexual partner.
  • If your doctor prescribes medicine, use it exactly as directed.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have signs of infection such as:
    • Pain, warmth, or swelling in the skin.
    • Red streaks near the bumps.
    • Pus coming from a bump.
    • A fever.

Where can you learn more?

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