Skin Virus - Molluscum Contagiosum

Updated on February 20, 2013
A.O. asks from Tahoe City, CA
12 answers

Hi all,

My daughter has a skin virus that she contacted somehow. We think it is Molluscum Contagiosum. We took her to the pediatrician a few months ago and he gave us an antibiotic cream (although I don't know how that would help as he said it was a virus) and said it would eventually go away with time. Well, my daughter is getting a lot of new bumps although the first, bigger ones are now going away. Do you have any advice on how to get them to go away quicker? I read that salicylic acid helps and I have some at home for my face so I have put it on my daughter's bumps the last two nights. We are taking her to the pediatrician again today. We are also making her wear her cotton jammies rather than her polyester "princess" jammies and are buying her some organic cotton sheets (she has polyester sheets on right now as well). Any advice or tips appreciated.

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answers from Minneapolis on

My daughter had this and they did go away with no treatment, but yes it takes a really long time. I've heard they can spread between people, but hers did not and we did not take any special precautions. Unless she can't stop picking on them, or they become sore or infected, I suggest you just leave them be. Treating them with home remedies could cause more damage. They DO go away, it does take time - like months or a year or even more.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Seattle on

My boys both had Molluscum.
It's a virus. Changing her jammies and her sheets wont do anything.
They shouldn't hurt at all, unless you or she is picking at them. DON'T pick at them!! I didn't know that and did with my first son. Poor kid, cried every time, but I thought I needed to pop them to get rid of them. WRONG. It made it worse. It makes them spread! Doh.
An antibiotic cream will do absolutely nothing. I would change doctors just because of that! It will go away on it's may take YEARS. way more than 1-2. My son had them for 3 years and then I went and had my boys taken off.
The doctor put "beetle juice" on them. IT made them scab up and then they went away. For my first son we had to go back and do it again because he had so many, but for my second son we just went once.
Did your pediatrician tell you that Molluscum is SUPER contagious? That your child should not be sharing a bath or going to a pool until it's gone? He should have.
The beetle juice looked horribly painful, but they were gone so quickly. I should have done it way before I did.
I know a lot of moms on here may tell you to wait it out, but I am so glad that I got them removed.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

Both my children had these as toddlers. I'm guessing they got them from daycare. They are harmless, but can leave permanent scars. My DD had them really bad on her legs and she has tiny pits from them to this very day. Same thing with DS - on his chest - though he didn't have them nearly as long because we knew how to cure them.

We tried every natural remedy possible. Expensive remedies from the internet, duct tape, creams, etc. Nothing worked. Finally got a script from the pediatrician for Aldera. Aldera is a topical cream used primarily to treat genital warts. With a week or two of using it on the Molluscum, the spots were gone and never came back. There was zero discomfort or itching with the cream. One little packet would last us a few days, and she was covered with them. Don't torture your poor child with painful creams and acids when one simple script will take care of it so easily!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I have treated this on two of my sons. I treated the older one because he had 7-10 bumps on his torso and he was getting self conscious about them showing during swim practice. I used apple cider vinegar. I made a 50/50 mixture of the ACV and water. Then put a thin layer of vaseline around the bump to protect the surrounding skin (not on it though because then you are "protecting" the bump). Then dip a cotton ball in the vinegar mixture and tape in place over night ( I used paper tape from the first aid aisle to reduce sensitivity). When the bumps turned a dark "angry" red I stopped treating at let them heal up on their own. I usually treated for a few days until it was red then it took another 7-10 days to clear up after that. Only one spot left a scar (the biggest first bump). The vinegar is acidic and essentially burns the bumps off slowly and gently. My SIL used this method on her son as well and had great, quick success with it.
Just curious, were the cotton sheets and jammies recommended? I do not see the benefit of such breathable fabrics, viruses thrive in oxygenated environments and die in oxygen deprived environments. Not saying polyester will diminish oxygen enough to have an effect on the molluscum, just not sure what the benefit of switching to cotton is?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Oru pediatrician told us that they are harmless and go away on their own after months and sometimes years. I am thankful that they do not affect my son's appearance at all.

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answers from Rochester on

The only treatment that works for this (according to my doctor) is a very expensive and strong treatment that's generally reserved for some type of STD. You can also have them removed, but that isn't a cure. It's been a few years, but I had this on my legs and it was incredibly painful. I had breakouts over the course of two years, and then it just went away on it's own and never came back.

Sorry I can't be more encouraging... :(

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Ditto what Laura said.
My daughter had a few of them. If they pop (or get scratched or scraped on accident--which can happen with a fingernail or the edge of a seam on a piece of clothing, or the bath towel...) they can/will spread. My daughter had 2 on her neck for a LONG time. No big deal. Well, apparently she also had one in her scalp. Eventually, she scraped it with a comb and it got infected. So, if your daughter's have gotten infected, that would be a good reason for the antibiotic cream/ointment. But otherwise, it won't do anything for the bumps themselves.

We went to the dermatologist and did the cantharidin (?) treatment that Laura mentioned (the beetlejuice). It is a very simple treatment. And the most painful part was removing the bandaid 3 hours after the initial application of the treatment. (You have to remove it at 3 hours and wash the area with soap, so as not to over-treat the bump.... you have to remove the stuff they put on it at a certain time interval). And 3 hours is not long enough for the bandaid to come off easily. Soaking in the tub helped... but it's hard to keep a kids' neck underwater for very long.... tee hee.

Hers have never come back.

Son also had a few (we didn't know that is what it was until daughter was diagnosed...we just thought he had a wart on his knuckle, and one on his waist). Eventually, he scraped them on something (the one on his waist, with his fingernail getting dressed and rescraping it on the waist band of his jeans; and the one on his knuckle on who knows what)... and when I put neosporin on them and covered them with a bandaid they went away.
But I couldn't deliberately scrape my daughter's to make them go away, and I was concerned about scarring. We tried the home remedies: tea tree oil, peroxide, salicylic acid (wart remover), etc... none of it did anything.

The beetle juice/prescription wart treatment combo at the dermatologist's office took care of it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

My daughter had them. "Beetlejuice" caused severe blistering and was very uncomfortable (she has sensitive skin). A substitute doctor gave her Tagamet (cimetidine, I think) and they cleared up quickly.



answers from Kansas City on

My friend's boys both had this. They used tree oil that you can get at health foods store. They applied the tree oil twice daily and now her oldest only has two left. They had this for about 9 months or so.



answers from Charleston on

My son had this, and it took 1 year months to finally go away. There is no "quick fix" for this virus unfortunately. Our pediatrician gave us a cream to apply to it every other day which attacked the virus and caused the bump to peel and disappear. I can find out the name and let you know if you're interested.

As for her jammies, I'd just make sure she changes clothes, jammies every day, and that she gets a clean towel and washcloth every bathtime. YES it can spread via clothing that is shared or used over. I'd make sure she is not picking at the bumps as well, because when they "pop" the virus can spread and cause others elsewhere.

It is so frustrating! I feel your pain, but it is more common than you think.

Good luck!



answers from San Francisco on

My daughter caught this a number of years ago, when she was 5 or there around (she is now 11). She had 2 bouts of it within a year & half of each other.

At the time, I did everything you are doing now to understand what it was and how to treat it. I came across a treatment that worked so well that I bought extra vials of it to have on hand should it come back again in the future, as it does.

I am want to tell you, I have NO affiliation with the product or whoever produces it. I just can tell you that it really worked for us, both times she had the bumps from this virus. Also, both times she only had the bumps on her trunk (stomach & back). And from what I read about others with the virus, it seems that her case would have been considered fairly mild. But it was a problem for her as the bumps itched and hurt her.

All that said, the product we used, and which I still keep a vial of "just in case" is called "ZymaDerm" or "ZymaDerm 1". I bought it off of Amazon, because I trust Amazon and knew if it didn't work I could either return it or make a post about if it worked or not on the website. It comes in a vial with a "rod" inside attached to the lid. All you do is use the rod to dab some of the oil-like substance to each bump twice a day.

It is made by a company called "Naturopathix, Inc. I recall it wasn't what I would consider cheap. Another reason I was hesitant. But in the end, I can only give you my word that it worked, and worked well for us.

I am not one to make posts on sites like this, I am more of a reader than a commenter. But when I saw the title of your post, I knew I had to respond with a post. I remember the horrible feeling I had a the time not knowing what to do to help my daughter. And I was scared she would suffer for a long time since there didn't seem to be any real treatment that would work 100%.

I hope you will look into the product for yourself and if you find it is something you decide to use, I hope that you get the same good results that we did.

By the way, I am sure this has nothing to do with the product we used, but she has not had another bout with this since, fingers crossed it stays that way. Just a bit of hope to let you know that it doesn't seem to be a huge problem that you have to continue dealing with for years.

Good luck!



answers from San Francisco on

I had to take my daughter and son in and they burned them off. We had to do this twice before they completely went away. The med they gave to treat did not work because she had such a bad outbreak. We contacted hem from a boy at daycar who never treated them and he still gets them four years later. We haven't had them since the second round of burning hem off.

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