Now that most of the country is spending more time at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, families may have the opportunity to take an all-hands-on-deck approach to managing their child’s molluscum.
“Kids are cooped up playing together, so the risk of spread to siblings increases. But there’s also an opportunity for greater vigilance and dedicated effort,” says Mercedes E. Gonzalez, M.D., FAAD, a pediatric dermatologist at Pediatric Dermatology of Miami and Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
While you stay at home, you can use this window of time to take positive action — a “get it done” moment. Being at home may have benefits. You potentially can keep a closer eye on your child’s molluscum. “A timely and focused approach can help,” says Dr. Gonzalez.
Here are Dr. Gonzalez’s top five management strategies:
- Obtain confirmation of the molluscum diagnosis. Molluscum is a benign condition. So with local “shelter in place” orders and “essential visit” rules in place at doctors’ offices, consider a telemedicine visit with your child’s dermatologist if they offer them. Telemedicine works to confirm this diagnosis and to obtain a plan on how best to manage your child’s specific case at home. Check with your dermatologist to see if and how it’s done; it may involve uploading photos of the molluscum to a secure site, filling out online forms, or having a video visit or phone call.
- Wash hands frequently and make it fun. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are encouraging proper hand washing to protect against coronavirus. (You can see their recommendations on their website: www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html). The technique appeals to young children and can be used when molluscum or the flu or any contagious disease strikes your home. Humming the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end, twice, can clean hands and help prevent the spread of germs. Bonus: When the whole family is on board with this habit, your child with molluscum won’t feel singled out.
- Encourage your child to wear comfortable clothes that cover affected areas to reduce contact. If your child tolerates adhesive bandages, help them to apply them to exposed bumps to reduce the temptation of scratching or picking.
- Encourage your children to play games that don’t depend on close proximity or game pieces touched by all. Examples include: Charades, I Spy (objects in the room), and word-memory games like “I’m going on a trip and bringing….”
- Consider making an in-person appointment with your child’s dermatologist, if available. Some physicians are booking in-person appointments for patients who need treatment or assistance. . . while others are holding off on their scheduling entirely because they don’t know when they’ll re-open their offices. A visit might be a good idea because some treatments for molluscum must be administered by a healthcare professional. An in-office visit for treatment might be especially important if any of these factors are present in your child’s case:
- Multiple lesions — say, 20 or more
- Lesions are spreading
- Lesions are causing significant discomfort — pain or itch