Molluscum Contagiosum | An In-Depth Exploration Into the Virus
What starts off as a small, almost unnoticeable, bump on your skin can swiftly progress into a collection of growths. Although these lesions may not be painful or cause any irritation, its highly visible presence is often a cause of concern. Although the human skin is susceptible to a wide array of ailments and conditions, should your skin begin to develop flesh-colored bumps with a dimple in its center you may have a common virus known as molluscum contagiosum.
Molluscum contagiosum is a relatively common skin disease capable of afflicting almost any part of the body. Although the notion of being infected with a skin virus is alarming, these benign growths are more of an eyesore than a genuine cause of concern. Regardless of its harmless nature, the majority of sufferers are confused regarding how they obtained the virus and what they can do to support its swift elimination.
Molluscum Contagiosum | A Virus of Familiar Origins
The underlying causes of molluscum contagiosum is a virus related to the poxvirus family. Although it shares similarities to smallpox, there is no vaccine to prevent its infection. More importantly, unlike smallpox, molluscum contagiosum does not cause serious harm to those it infects. A common misconception regarding this virus is the belief that the smallpox vaccination can prevent this common disease. Unfortunately, the virus seems to be immune to this vaccination.
Caused by a unique double-stranded version of the Poxviridae family of viruses. molluscum contagiosum afflicts its symptoms on the epidermal keratinocytes, which is the predominant cell type in the outermost layer of skin. In fact, keratinocytes consist makes up roughly 95 percent of skin cells within the epidermis. With such a large amount of epidermal skin cells vulnerable to the effects of this virus, it's no surprise molluscum contagiosum is among the most successful skin viruses in the world.
For years, dermatologists considered this virus a pediatric condition as its most commonly found in children. In fact, up to 5 percent of children in America suffer from this virus. However, as research deepened, it became clear the molluscum contagiosum virus afflicts persons of all ages. Although healthy adults are at risk of contracting this virus, those with compromised immune systems are at a greater risk. For example, HIV-positive individuals are at a greater risk of not only contracting the virus, but having to deal with widespread lesions throughout their body. According to AETC National Resource Center, roughly 5 to 18 percent of HIV-infected persons suffer from a molluscum contagiosum infection at some point.
As with any other skin-related virus, transmission of the molluscum contagiosum virus occurs via skin-to-skin contact or through objects infected by the virus. The most common methods of transmission include sexual activity, contact sports and even casual touching. It's not uncommon for the virus to spread from one person to another via objects, such as towels, clothing, sponges and shaving utensils. It's also possible to self-infect other part of your body, known as self-inoculation.
Molluscum Contagiosum | The Physical Manifestation
Although the physical appearance of molluscum contagiosum can slightly vary from person-to-person, the overall manifestation is strikingly similar. An infection typically appears as multiple flesh-colored growths in small groupings. Lesions generally feature a shiny, smooth surface that's firm and dome-shaped. In the center of each lesion a small dimple exists.
In persons who have a healthy immune system, the size of each growth generally measures between 2 and 5 millimeters, which is quite small. However, those with compromised immune systems generally feature giant lesions, which can be greater than 1 centimeter in diameter or feature collections of hundreds of smaller growths. These lesions can be found throughout the body, except within the palms of hands or soles of feet. The most common areas include: head, face, neck and genital region.
Because this virus does not negatively affect the health or functionality of the human body, treatment is typically done for purely cosmetic reasons. Although molluscum contagiosum is generally harmless, treatment is important to shorten its duration and reduce the risk of transmission. This is especially important should the lesions be located in highly visible areas, such as along the arms.
After confirming the disease through a physical inspection and laboratory testing, your physician will determine the best mode of treatment. Generally, lesions are cut or frozen off; however, topical treatment of antiviral ointments and immune system-enhancing medications is common. Although synthetic treatments are effective, some of the most powerful treatment options call upon the healing power of nature. For example, the Naturasil Molluscum Contagiosum Treatment utilizes some of the most powerful natural antiviral and antibacterial essential oils in the world to swiftly eradicate lesions and kill off the virus. Because of the non-threatening nature of this virus, many health and skin experts recommend turning to natural remedies as it's capable of eliminating the virus without introducing potentially harmful chemicals and ingredients into your already sensitive skin.