What is molluscum contagiosum?
Molluscum contagiosum, aka “water warts”, is a viral skin infection that appears as pinkish, little smooth bumps or pimples filled with an oily substance.
What are the symptoms of molluscum contagiosum
There may or may not be a redness around them. If you look close enough they may each have a tiny dimple in the middle. They can range in size from 1mm to 1cm. Molluscum contagiosum infection is typically not itchy or painful and your child will be otherwise well. They can be found on hands and feet, underarms, the face and around the torso.
How did my child catch it?
The molluscum contagiosum virus is spread when exposed to the fluid leaked form the warty bumps either directly with skin-to-skin contact or indirectly (towels, clothing, surfaces such as sinks and toilet doors, swimming pool change room floors, playground/ play centre equipment).
There are some concerns with swimming pools so best to use a waterproof band-aid if you can’t avoid the pool and not share the bath water with siblings (better yet, switch to a shower!).
Having eczema can increase your chances of catching these “water warts” because the skin already has a compromised barrier and immune function. If your child does have eczema, you may find new spots developing around the molluscum.
Is molluscum a big deal?
In healthy kids, molluscum is a harmless condition that will resolve on its own. Each bump will take on average 2 months to clear and the time it takes for complete resolution varies greatly; from 2 months to 4 years. One large study done in the UK found an average of 13 months.
The best thing you can do is sit and wait it out and in the meantime make sure they are not scratched open to reduce them spreading and support your child’s immune system.
What can I do at home?
Boost your child’s intake of zinc-rich foods such as chicken thigh, lean pork chops, beef, pumpkin seeds, mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, chickpeas, nuts and seeds, avocado and fish. Zinc is not only important for supporting our immune defences in the skin but also has important anti-viral powers.
Other anti-viral foods include garlic and onions, turmeric, ginger, matcha green tea, and fresh herbs such as oregano, sage, basil, rosemary and lemon balm.
If your child doesn’t mind the taste of raw garlic, mix half to one clove of garlic (minced) into enough raw honey and give on a spoon 1 or 2 times a day.
Other immune- supporting foods are rich in vitamin C and vitamin A such as kiwi fruit, oranges, papaya, rockmelon, red capsicums, sweet potato, pumpkin, avocado, broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale, parsley and the superfoods Kakadu plum and acerola cherries.
Reduce foods that do not give your immune system any favours including those high in sugar and highly processed (white bread, pasta and rice), Sugar actually prevents the immune system from doing its job properly for several hours after consuming it!
If you find the molluscum is irritated and itchy, you can try using a soothing cream with calendula.
There are also some essential oils, Lemon Myrtle oil and Tea tree oil, that have been shown to help fight the viral infection when combined with a carrier oil and applied to each bump. Use a 1 to 10 ratio of essential oil to a carrier oil such as olive oil, coconut oil or jojoba oil and apply two days a day.