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Dermatology/Tiny white bumps all over children.

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My daughters foot
My daughters foot  

My sons stomach
My sons stomach  
A couple of months ago my 6yr old son appeared to have several tiny white bumps on his face, then I noticed 2 on my 3yr old daughter by her lips. Now they have the bumps all over from head to feet. My son has popped one and it stayed as a little pimple.  They don't itch or really bother them, but we just don't know what they are and if it can be treated. Wondering if it's contagious because I also have a 1yr old here at home.

Answer
Your son most likely has Molluscum Contagiosum.
What is molluscum contagiosum?

The virus causes small white, pink, or flesh-colored raised bumps or growths with a dimple or pit in the center. The bumps are usually smooth and firm. In most people, the growths range from about the size of a pinhead to as large as a pencil eraser (2 to 5 millimeters in diameter).

The bumps may appear anywhere on the body, alone or in groups. They are usually painless, although they may be itchy, red, swollen and/or sore.

Molluscum usually disappears within 6 to 12 months without treatment and without leaving scars. Some growths may remain for up to 4 years.


Who gets molluscum contagiosum?
Molluscum infections occur worldwide but are more common in warm, humid climates and where living conditions are crowded. There is evidence that molluscum infections have been on the rise in the United States since 1966, but these infections are not routinely monitored because they are seldom serious and routinely disappear without treatment.

Molluscum is common enough that you should not be surprised if you see someone with it or if someone in your family becomes infected. Although not limited to children, it is most common in children 1 to 10 years of age. People with weakened immune systems (i.e., HIV-infected persons or persons being treated for cancer) are at higher risk for getting molluscum, and their growths may look different, be larger, and be more difficult to treat.


How do people become infected with the molluscum virus?
The virus that causes molluscum is spread from person to person by touching the affected skin. The virus may also be spread by touching a surface with the virus on it, such as a towel, clothing, or toys. Once someone has the virus, the bumps can spread to other parts of their body by touching or scratching a bump and then touching another part of the body. Molluscum can be spread from one person to another by sexual contact.

Although the virus might be spread by sharing swimming pools, baths, saunas, or other wet and warm environments, this has not been proven. Researchers who have investigated this idea think it is more likely the virus is spread by sharing towels and other items around a pool or sauna than through water.


If you have molluscum, you will see small white, pink, or flesh-colored raised bumps or growths with a pit or dimple in the center. The bumps are usually smooth and firm. They can be as small as the head of a pin and as large as a pencil eraser (2 to 5 millimeters in diameter). The growths are usually painless but may become itchy, sore and red and/or swollen. They may occur anywhere on the body including the face, neck, arms, legs, abdomen, and genital area, alone or in groups. The bumps are rarely found on the palms of the hands or the soles of the feet.

Treatment is with liquid nitrogen, canthecure, or the OTC MullscumRx which can be found on line.

Dermatology

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Michael S. Fisher, <B>Ph.D., M.D.</B>

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