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What Is Molluscum Contagiosum?

Molluscum contagiosum is a viral skin infection that can lead to lesions or raised bumps on the top of your skin. The bumps are usually painless and will disappear on their own once the virus leaves your body, which can take anywhere from two months to four years. There are medical treatments available, but most cases will resolve without treatment.

What Causes Molluscum Contagiosum?

You can contract the virus through direct contact with a person who has it, or an object they touched that is contaminated by the virus, such as clothing, bedding, or a towel. Anyone can get molluscum contagiosum, but some groups of people are more likely to contract it than others. Groups that are at a higher risk include:

  • Children under ten
  • People who live in tropical climates
  • People with weakened immune systems
  • People who have been diagnosed with atopic dermatitis
  • Sports players, especially those in wrestling and football, where bare skin-to-skin contact happens more frequently

A healthcare professional can diagnose the condition visually but may follow up with a skin scraping or biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. Even though it is not necessary to treat this condition, if it lasts for a length of time, you should visit your healthcare provider.

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