Randy Jacobs, M.D. Patient Education

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Molluscum Contagiosum


What is molluscum contagiosum?

Molluscum contagiosum consists of small, harmless skin growths caused by a virus.  They resemble pimples at first.  They are often confused with warts. Later, when they enlarge, they often have a waxy, pinkish look, and a small central pit. Molluscum contagiosum can be spread from person to person by direct skin contact.  The papules of molluscum contagiosum are harmless and never turn cancerous. The problem is that they can spread to other childrenand family members like wildfire.


Who Gets It?

Molluscum contagiosum is most commonly seen in young children. Do not allow your infected child to touch another child. Adults may get molluscum contagiosum from children. Interestingly, adults will often get molluscum contagiosum in the groin area. Children spread molluscum via contact. They can be sexually transmitted in adults. The treatment is the same in both.



There is no single perfect treatment of molluscum contagiosum, since we are unable to kill the virus.  Individual lesions can be destroyed by a non FDA approved chemical blistering agent called cantharone, by liquid nitrogen, by hot cautery, or by superficial curettage. If the cantharone is used, the sites should be thoroughly cleansed with soap and water 2 hours after the chemical is applied. Please understand that the chemical blistering agent causes blisters where ever the chemical touches. Extreme care should be taken to avoid getting the chemical on areas that you do not want blistered, especially the eyes! Sometimes, new lesions will form while existing ones are being destroyed.  New growths should be treated when they become large enough to be seen. Often, they are easy enough to scrape off with a sterilized blunt object like a spoon.  Molluscum lesions may become red and sore when the body tries to reject the virus.  Sometimes a rash appears around the growths. These symptoms are harmless and can be safely ignored until they resolve on their own. Please note that it may take more than one treatment to get rid of molluscum.




Brief Instructions for blisters


Supplies needed?        Ointment: Antibiotic ointment is a topical antibiotic available here.

                                    · Band-Aids or hypoallergenic paper tape.

                                    ¸ Gauze: Cotton gauze or cotton balls.

                                    ¹ Hydrogen Peroxide: Available at your pharmacy.


Brief routine     .           Twice a day: Pour hydrogen peroxide onto the wound or blister.

                                    · Twice a day: Lightly rub the area with a hydrogen peroxide soaked gauze.

                                    ¸ Twice a day: After the peroxide, liberally apply antibiotic ointment with a Q tip.

                                    ¹ Twice a day: If you desire, you may cover with a new bandage.

                                    º It's best to keep the wound continuously moist with antibiotic ointment.

                                    Ï Severe wounds should not be exposed to excessive water.

                                    ¼ While showering, a thick film of antibiotic ointment will prevent water exposure.

                                    ½ Prevent infection by keeping your fingers off the wound. Please avoid picking.