6 Symptoms of Molluscum Contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum is a common viral infection that affects the skin. This type of skin rash is caused by a virus in the pox family of viruses. While more frequently seen in children, this infection can also occur in adults, especially in those with compromised immune systems. As the name would suggest, molluscum contagiosum is contagious. This viral skin infection can be transmitted from person to person through both direct contact with the skin lesions. It can also be spread through indirect contact with contaminated objects such as infected clothing, towels, and even exercise mats. The skin rash can also spread on an affected person through itching or rubbing of the lesions. When the rash occurs in the genital area, it is a sexually transmitted disease.

It can take up to a couple of months before you see any signs of this infection because the incubation period can be several weeks for this virus. This chronic infection can last for anywhere from a few months to a few years. It is contagious while the lesions are present on the skin. While molluscum contagiosum typically resolves itself in less than a year, a health care provider can assist with removal of the lesions in certain cases. There are generally no long-term complications from this skin infection. If the lesions are embarrassing, there are treatments that can help the skin to clear more rapidly, but many of these treatment options can be uncomfortable and may cause scarring of the affected areas.

1. Small Bumps

The first sign of molluscum contagiosum is usually the formation of small bumps on the skin. These bumps are benign and can occur singly or in groups of up to around 20 lesions. When in groups, these bumps may show up in patches or even in rows. Each of these bumps begins about the size of a pinhead and can grow over the course of several weeks up to the size of a pencil eraser or a pea, up to about 6 millimeters in diameter, or less than 1/4 of an inch. The bumps are typically shaped like a dome and may have a small indentation in the center.