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Molluscum Contagiosum (water warts)
What are water warts?
Water warts or medically – Molluscum contagiosum are small (on average 3-6 mm in diameter) pearly, to skin-colored, sometimes translucent bumps, usually with a central dimple on the skin caused by a Molluscum virus. It is an infectious disease that usually happens in childhood, but can happen in adults as well, especially adults with weak immunity. It spreads directly from person to person by touching the infected skin, or by touching anything that has virus on it (e.g. toys, towels etc.). In adults, water warts can be a sexually transmitted disease. Water warts do not need to be treated since each individual wart goes away on its own within 2-4 months, while the infection itself can take up to 2 years to completely clear.
How do water warts (molluscum) look like and how do they feel?
Water warts are small (on average 3-6 mm in diameter) pearly, to skin-colored, sometimes translucent bumps, usually with a central dimple on any part of the skin. There can be from just one bump to clusters of water warts on the skin. They usually do not have any symptoms, but sometimes they can get inflamed, red, and itchy, and turn into a pus bump with skin redness and irritation around it. While this can be rather disturbing, it is usually a sign of your immunity clearing the bumps.
How can I avoid getting water warts (molluscum)?
Do not touch water wart on another person, do not share towels or other objects that person with molluscum has used. If you got infected, it takes 2 to 6 weeks for bumps to show up on your skin.
How can I avoid spreading water warts on the other parts of my skin?
Do not scratch, squeeze or touch them. Leave them alone.
How do I avoid spreading water warts to other people?
Do not scratch, squeeze or touch your water warts. Leave them alone. If you have touched them, wash your hands. You can also cover them with clothing or bandage to avoid accidental contact with another person’s skin. If you have them on your genitalia, use condoms, or avoid sex until they are gone.
How are water warts treated?
Water warts do not need to be treated, since each individual wart goes away on its own within 2-4 months, while the infection itself can take up to 2 years to completely clear. However, they can leave small dimpled scars. Treatment will not prevent scars, since scars can also happen with any treatment as well. If you really want them treated and molluscum is on genitalia, and is precluding you form having sex, then it probably needs treatment in your health care provider’s office. The most common treatment options are freezing with liquid nitrogen; scraping them off (curettage), and application of blistering liquids such as cantharidin. Another painless option is a continuous application of surgical tape to each bump daily after bathing for up to 4 months.