The overwhelming number of patients suffering from molluscum contagiosum are children under 5 years of age and slightly older. It is all about the imperfection of the immune system of babies, preschoolers and younger students. For this age category, the general response of the body to attacks of irritants, bacteria and viruses in the form of skin reactions is not uncommon. However, although much less often, the contagious mollusc is also found in adults.
What is a contagious mollusk and how does it look?
Molluscum contagiosum is a viral skin disease. It manifests itself with one single symptom – the emergence of a kind of pimples (mollusks) on the skin of the child (very rarely rashes dot mucous membranes). These nodules have a rounded, swollen shape and flesh-colored or pink color. There is also a reticular form of molluscum contagiosum, in which the plaques have a thin stem, but it occurs infrequently.
A characteristic sign of molluscum contagiosum is the presence of recesses in the center on the spilled nodules, which are especially noticeable on the largest of them.
The size of mollusks depends on many factors – the duration of the course of the disease, the general state of health of the patient, the strength of his immune system. On average, the diameter of each mollusk is 1-2 mm, over time, the nodules increase and can reach 7 mm. If there are serious problems with immunity, the formation of the so-called giant clam is not excluded. This happens even if enough attention is not paid to the treatment of a contagious mollusc – small pimples merge with each other and large enough new growths appear.
The manifestation of symptoms begins with the dotting of the skin integument. Only after some time they turn into nodules. The fact is that the body of the mollusk is under the skin. A visible manifestations of the disease, the patient and the surrounding view through a thin top layer of skin.
As for the localization of the rash, in children nodules most often appear on the face, neck, hands. Later, they can spread throughout the body, but almost never a rash affects the feet and palms.
Contagious mollusk except rashes does not manifest itself by anything. Children do not experience fever, lethargy, drowsiness, deterioration of health, loss of appetite and other symptoms. In very rare cases, the disease is accompanied by low-intensity itching in the eruption area. At the same time there is a risk of attaching a secondary infection through wounds and scratches.
Stages of development of molluscum contagiosum
Molluscum contagiosum can occur in several forms, depending on the stage of its development:
- Typical development – at this stage, the main signs of the disease become noticeable. There are not many rashes, their groups are located close to each other.
- Generalized development – the number of nodules increases, now their conglomerates can be located on different parts of the body, even at a distance from each other.
- Complicated development – is noted infrequently, usually in people who have serious “problems” in the immune system, the cause of the complication is the accession of a secondary infection. The condition is accompanied by inflammation of the skin, redness of the skin around the nodules, and suppuration.
Causative agent of molluscum contagiosum
The causative agent of molluscum contagiosum is a DNA-containing virus, which belongs to the group of pox viruses. Characteristically, it can only be transmitted from person to person – animals with molluscum contagiosum never suffer. There are four types of virus: MCV-1, MCV-2, MCV-3, MCV-4. Moreover, the first two types in children occur infrequently.
A large amount of the virus is found in the fluid contained in pimples and nodules. The causative agent of molluscum contagiosum is well preserved in dust and even in air.
Ways of contagious molluscum infection
Most often, children are infected with this ailment from each other through a contact-household way: when playing with peers, in kindergarten and elementary school (whole epidemics occur in permanent teams), in pools and open water bodies and even using common objects with sick people (a towel, toys, clothing, etc.). Possible transmission of the virus and airborne droplets.
The main danger lies in the fact that molluscum contagiosum is characterized by a long incubation period – it can last up to six months. All this time, the virus itself does not show itself, so neither the young patient himself, nor his parents do not know about the disease.
Significantly increase the risk of infection by a contagious shellfish such adverse factors as:
- reduced immunity;
- bad ecology;
- stress and fatigue, etc.
Diagnosis of molluscum contagiosum
At the first suspicion of a contagious mollusk in children, it is necessary to contact a dermatologist. The fact is that behind similar symptoms may be hiding much more dangerous skin disease. On the other hand, the visible manifestations of molluscum contagiosum are often mistaken by parents for warts or smallpox symptoms. In any case, need expert advice.
The dermatologist is most often able to determine the disease during the inspection by the appearance of the rash and the places of their localization. There is also a simple test, according to the results of which a contagious mollusk can be diagnosed with an absolute probability. It is enough to put pressure on one of the pimples from the side – if at the same time the whitish mass of the cereal consistency comes out of its center, then there is no doubt: we are talking about a contagious mollusk.
In very rare cases, to clarify the diagnosis requires analysis of the content of tumors. If a greater number of mollusc bodies are found in this mass compared with the number of cells in the epidermis, then suspicions and guesses about the presence of a contagious mollusk are confirmed.
Approaches to the treatment of molluscum contagiosum in children
The attitude to the contagious mollusc is ambiguous. For example, Western doctors agree that this disease in children does not need treatment at all. It is enough to wait, give the body to overcome the disease, and the rash will disappear by itself in a few months. It is only necessary to pay increased attention to personal hygiene during this period.
In Russian medicine, traditionally molluscum contagiosum in children is a disease that requires appropriate treatment. Otherwise, the rash may spread throughout the body and begin to merge with the formation of giant mollusks.
How is contagious mollusc treated?
In modern medicine, there are several options for ridding a child from a contagious mollusk:
- mechanical removal;
- antiviral and immune therapy;
- antibiotic treatment.
Mechanical removal of nodules in children can only be carried out under sterile conditions by a doctor. The procedure is carried out with tweezers or a special spoon Volkmann. The mollusk is removed, the contents are scraped, after which the wound is treated with iodine solution. Such treatment is rather unpleasant and even painful for a small patient. Therefore, anesthesia is often used, especially in the case of a large area of eruptions.
In many clinics, the nodules are frozen with liquid nitrogen. After such treatment, wounds are also treated. Soon in their place there are crusts that can itch. But to scratch and rip them in any case impossible. The fact is that under these crusts are inclusions containing a clam. When combing the virus is easy to spread throughout the body and provoke the appearance of new foci of the disease. Therefore, doctors often prescribe special ointments and gels that help prevent re-infection.
In modern hospitals it is possible to remove molluscum contagiosum by laser. This fairly quick and painless way has a number of advantages:
- exclusion of damage to nearby tissues;
- no risk of suppuration after the procedure;
- no possibility of infection – the procedure is carried out under sterile conditions;
- no bleeding;
- no negative effects on the child’s body;
- minimal possibility of re-occurrence of molluscum contagiosum after the procedure.
With the help of a special device, the thinnest layer of the affected skin (the depth of the laser does not exceed 5 mm) is heated to a high temperature, as a result of which the virus dies, while cells that he managed to hit are evaporated.
As for immune and antiviral therapy, this method of treating molluscum contagiosum in children has a very desirable positive side effect – the general strengthening of the immunity of a small patient. For this purpose, doctors prescribe special antiviral ointments and immunomodulators.
Antibiotics are rarely used for the treatment of molluscum contagiosum – only in especially severe cases, accompanied by reddening and inflammation of the skin, severe itching and a huge amount of rash.
It is important to add that even after removing all the nodules and pimples, the molluscum contagiosum may continue to develop in the child’s body, and in this case new pockets of eruptions will soon appear on his body. Therefore, even after complete cure, it is important to carefully examine the children and periodically show them as a preventive measure to the doctor.
Alternative ways to combat molluscum contagiosum: traditional medicine
It should immediately be said that the use of any of the means of traditional medicine for the treatment of molluscum contagiosum is recommended to discuss with your doctor. In some cases, these recipes that have come down to us since ancient times really help to get rid of the disease. And for someone, treatment with folk remedies turns out to be ineffective – here everything is individual.
The following are the most simple and effective recipes and recommendations:
- Treatment of nodules with fresh juice of blooming celandine – as a rule, the rash disappears within a week.
- Processing the rash with garlic juice (the lobule should be cut lengthwise, and slightly pressing on it until juice appears, wipe the affected skin with it) – as a result of the neoplasm, they quickly darken and fall off.
- Treating the affected areas three times a day with alcohol tincture of eucalyptus or calendula (even without squeezing the contents of the nodules).
- Processing the rash juice of fresh leaves of bird cherry (the tool should be stored in the refrigerator in a tightly closed bottle or jar).
Help parents in the treatment of molluscum contagiosum in children
Effective treatment of molluscum contagiosum in children is unthinkable without the help of parents. During the treatment period, close attention must be paid to the personal hygiene of the baby. In particular, his mom and dad will need the following:
- private change of clothes and bedding of the patient;
- washing all things of a small patient at high temperatures;
- obligatory ironing of the child’s clothes and bedding;
- disinfection of toys and household items of a sick baby;
- Obligatory informing the caregiver or teacher of the child – this will make it possible to prevent an epidemic in the children’s team on time.
Prevention of molluscum contagiosum in children
First of all, parents should instill in children the basic rules of personal hygiene – teach the kids time to wash their hands, change clothes, etc. It is important to convey to the child how dangerous it is to use other people’s things – combs, toothbrushes, towels, slippers, washcloths. In the future, it will save it not only from a contagious mollusk, but also from a whole range of serious diseases.
Another important preventive measure is to strengthen the immunity of children, which includes:
- good nutrition;
- walks in the open air;
- respect for sleep and rest;
- sufficient physical activity, sports.