When diagnosed with molluscum contagiosum, many doctors suggest waiting it out for the bumps to go away over time. This option can take months to years and for many people and typically there are better options.
Treatment options come in a wide variety of ointments, simple surgeries, and physical removal procedures. Finding the best option for you may depend on the side effects or effectiveness of each procedure.
Many molluscum contagiosum sufferers primarily use an over-the-counter ointment as it leaves less scarring and is a less intimidating option than surgery or physical removal. For those who have tried it all, laser removal might be a better option.
Ointments and Topical Treatments
Conzerol cream is an antiviral blend that is safe for all external parts of the body. Since it is over the counter, you do not have to waste time waiting for a doctor’s appointment to get started on treating your rash. It is safe for all ages over one year old and it is shown to be highly affective for most patients within the first month of treatment. There are very few side effects reported from Conzerol users, although another treatment might be necessary to relieve minor scarring left from the lesions.
If you are looking for an all-natural alternative, Zymaderm is another over-the-counter treatment option. It is an FDA approved topical liquid agent that often fades molluscum contagiosum lesions within the first month of use. The main critique is the odor of the Zymaderm liquid. Zymaderm, along with other all-natural products such as Naturasil and Terrasil, are recommended for younger children due to the lack of harsh chemicals that can be irritating to sensitive skin.
Surgical Options and Physical Removal Procedures
Many of these treatments are not one-time procedures, as molluscum contagiosum could not exist solely as lesions but might lie in the body as a dormant virus. In this case, doctors might recommend trying the at-home treatments above before these more serious options.
Curettage is a treatment involving a needle that pierces each lesion to get rid of the virus. It may be a more painful treatment option and therefore is not recommended for children. This treats lesions visible on the body, but you may need to return to your dermatologist or doctor to remove new lesions that were previously not visible or fully formed.
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Cryotherapy involves freezing each bump with liquid nitrogen. This option is less painful but may also not be a permanent solution.
Laser therapy is a less common treatment due to scarring and some pain. It is recommended as an option only after less serious procedures have not been successful or if you have a weakened immune system.
How Do I Keep from Spreading Molluscum Contagiosum?
Staying clean is the best way to keep you comfortable and not spread the virus to other people or parts of the body. The first is simply to wash your hands often, especially before and after interacting with others. Hand washing, as well as other good hygiene techniques, may not only prevent spreading of molluscum contagiosum, but can also increase your overall health.
It is important not to scratch or pick at any lesions, as this can release the virus and cause more spreading. If you find picking is a problem, watertight bandages can help you resist temptation and keep the affected areas from dirt or germs. Be sure to change your bandages regularly to keep clean.
Lastly, do not share personal items with others, such as clothing or towels, which may contain the virus. Avoid common swimming areas unless you have covered all affected areas with watertight bandages. Otherwise, this can result in spreading the virus.