Molluscum Contagiosum (Water Warts): Care Instructions

Molluscum Contagiosum After Your Child's Visit

Your Care Instructions

Molluscum contagiosum (say "moh-LUS-kum kun-tay-jee-OH-sum") is a skin infection caused by a virus. It causes small pearly or flesh-colored bumps. The bumps may itch. It can also cause a rash. The virus spreads easily but is usually not harmful. However, the infection can be serious in people with a weak immune system.

Molluscum contagiosum is most common in children younger than 10.

Without treatment, molluscum contagiosum usually goes away in 2 to 4 months. In some cases, it may take a year or longer for it to go away. You may want treatment for your child if the bumps bother your child or you want to keep them from spreading. Treatments include removing the bumps or freezing or putting medicine on them. Treatment depends on where the bumps are. Bumps in the genital area are usually removed.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Give your child medicines exactly as prescribed. Call the doctor if your child has any problems with a medicine.
  • After the bumps have been treated, keep the area clean and protected.
  • Tell your child to try not to scratch the bumps. Put a piece of tape or bandage over the bumps.
  • Avoid contact sports, swimming pools, and hot tubs.
  • Teach your child not to share towels and washcloths. That can spread molluscum contagiosum.
  • Teach a teen to avoid shaving any skin that is bumpy.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has a fever not caused by the flu or some other known illness.
  • Your child has signs of infection, such as:
    • Pain, warmth, or swelling in the skin.
    • Red streaks near the bumps.
    • Pus coming from a bump.
    • A fever.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • Home treatment does not help.

Care instructions adapted under license by Slm. This care instruction is for use with your licensed healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.