How Long Does Molluscum Last?

Written by giselle mazur
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How Long Does Molluscum Last?
(Photo by E van Herk.)

Molluscum contagiosum is a virus that causes a rash at the point of infection. The infection is identified by small red or flesh coloured bumps with dimpled centres. Molluscum is transferred either through direct skin-to-skin contact or by sharing personal items. It is most common among children or sexually active young adults. Molluscum is completely treatable, but the length of infection can vary.

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How Long it Lasts

The human body can incubate Molluscum for 2 to 7 weeks before any symptoms appear. The small raised bumps will appear at the site of infection. On average the lesions last anywhere from 2 to 7 months, when treated. But treatment of Molluscum is not always necessary. In most cases, the immune system will fight off a Molluscum infection in 6 to 12 months.

Individual Leasions

Each bump lasts 2 to 4 months, so if you are careful and take proper precautions, the infection will clear up rather quickly. But because the infection is passed through touch, you will usually experience some new lesions due to auto-inoculation.

Prolonging Infection

Because Molluscum is transferred by touch, there are many measures you can take to ensure you don't prolong infection. Always wash your hands after touching an infected area. If you touch an infected leg, and then touch your eye, you risk getting Molluscum in your eye. In that case, you have to seek medical attention. Also, disinfect your personal items between using so you don't reinfect yourself. This means using a clean towel every time you bath and washing clothing thoroughly without wearing them again between washes.

Complications

In people with autoimmune disorders, Molluscum may last several years.

Avoid shaving or touching the area except if applying medicine. If the lesions are opened, you risk a bacterial infection on top of the viral Molluscum, making the infection last longer.

Prevention

Of course, the best way to deal with Molluscum for the shortest amount of time possible is to never catch it. Measures can be taken to avoid catching Molluscum, and to prevent the spread of the infection to others.

It is important to avoid touching anyone who appears to have raised bumps on their skin. Don't share towels, lotions, or other personal items likely to have come in contact with an infected area, and teach children to do the same, especially during gym class at school or during physical extra-curricular activities such as dance or sports. If you regularly go to the gym, wipe down all equipment with a disinfecting wipe (this can prevent other unpleasant infections such as staff infections). Also, because the disease can be spread sexually, abstinence or a monogamous relationship between two people who do have the infection is recommended.

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