Molluscum rash: common, upsetting, not allergy

Molluscum rash: common, upsetting, not allergy

One of the most common rashes that allergists are asked to see that is non-allergic in origin is Molluscum Contagiosum.

The rash tends to be a source of great consternation for parents, while the child who is afflicted generally is unaware or at least unperturbed by the rash.

The parental angst comes primarily from the fact that the rash lasts for weeks, even months, and can slowly spread. The child’s indifference comes because the rash neither hurts nor itches.

The rash is caused by a poxvirus, which is a very distant relative of smallpox. It is spread primarily by skin-to-skin contact between children. It consists of individual dome-like papules (about the size of small pimples) that are flesh-colored and have a tiny dimple (umbilication) in the top.

The degree of involvement can vary from as few as one to three papules to dozens of them. Children with eczema are prone to have a greater number of papules and to have them last longer.

Most pediatricians, allergists, dermatologists and infectious disease doctors recommend benign neglect as treatment. In the vast majority of cases the rash resolves on its own without scarring.

Of the treatments that are available, the most commonly implemented is destructive therapy. Usually, this is accomplished by curetting the lesions, but they can also be burned by cold or heat. This treatment leads to minor scar formation. Other treatments available are immune-modulation and antiviral therapies.

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