Molluscum Contagiosum

The skin condition, molluscum contagiosum, which I found later,  is not-so-uncommon, raises mixed feelings among diffrent people. If you are a dermatologist, it may mean college fees of your child or a beach vacation in Hawaii. If you are a harried parent of a little kid, this means anguish and distress and if you are the patient yourselves, then God save you!! The feelings in this case may range from a little stress to frustration to depression. In my case, I am the parent of a little kid who had this condition.

The Condition

Let us first talk about what the disease is. It is basically a viral disease caused by a kind of pox virus (different from small or chicken pox virus) where small pearl shaped warts appear on the skin of the affected person. The most common areas to be affected are face, head, neck, hands and front torso. The pesky globules start appearing in ones and twos and if not taken care of, may become in the tens. In some persons, these are itchy and scratching them means spreading the infection.

Cures suggested by the doctor

As it is a viral disease, there is no known cure available. When these first appeared on my kid's head, my paediatrician suggested to leave them alone and they will go on their own. So, I waited for two months but when I saw that these adamant warts did not disappear and were instead multiplying and spreading to her hands and face, I decided to go to a dermatologist.  The first one I consulted suggested that I burn them using 10% KOH solution (for the uninitiated ones in chemistry, KOH is potassium hydroxide). This had to be done very carefully because the acid may burn the adjacent healthy skin. I could not quite imagine burning my litle one's skin, so I consulted another one. And the method she suggested was even more gruesome. She suggested to remove them by literally forking them out using a sharp needle. This sent shudders down my spine. How could I let my little one writhe in such pain? Although the procedure would have been done under local anaesthetic but you can only imagine how a 2-year old would react once the effect of the anaesthetic wanes down.  Another way, she suggested was to leave them alone and they MAY go out on their own. Well, I had already tried that, so that was not an option. Dissatisfied with the two doctors, I went to a third one and she suggested yet another acid. This time, it was salicyclic acid. But I had decided that I would not let any harsh acid or needle touch my little one, so here I was -- totally clueless about what to do with these wily molluscum warts (or molu as I had nicknamed them).

The simple home remedy

While browsing the net, I hit upon a seemingly easy cure called apple cider vinegar. I read many testimonials of angry parents, frustrated teens and tired adults who tried to find the cure in allopathy. They all had to visit their dermatologists again and again to either remove the molus, burn them or freeze them. Many of them had also tried costly herbal products and suspicious creams and had spent hundreds of dollars (that is when I realized how the dermatologist sees the college fees of his child in the pesky molus).  Many of them then tried a simple home remedy of applying apple cider vinegar and seen dramatic results. The reason I am writing this post is that I could not anywhere find how to apply the vinegar. I read people applying the vinegar, then popping the molus, some forked them out with their nails. But I found them to be too risky and complex. I found out that the method to apply the vinegar is very very simple:

1) Take a very small cotton swab, just the size of the molu. Remember that vinegar is also an acid (it is a carbon hydroxide compound) but a very mild one as compared to other acids. So, soak the cotton in vinegar.

2) Put the soaked cotton on the molu.

3) Seal it with a medical adhesive tape.

Voila!! You are done. Just do this overnight and wash in the morning. You can also put it in the day if your little one allows you to. My daughter won't let me put anything while she was awake, so we did it when she was asleep. Anyways, keep doing this night after night. You will see the molu blacken, then some scabbing and one fine morning, the scabbing will come off too. Do the taping religiously and you or your kid will be free from the wily molus soon. Do not scratch or pop out the molus. In fact, do not even touch them as they are highly contagious, as their name suggests. In my daughter's case, some molus came off within two days and some stubborn ones took upto fifteen days. You also have to be on your watch to find out any small molu appearing anywhere on your or your kid's body. The molus start small and then grow bigger. If you catch them young, you can finish them off fairly quickly. In my daughter's case, we saw tiny molus appearing on her face and shoulders. We took quick action and they were gone in two days. If you have say hundreds of them, add two to three spoons of the vinegar to a bucket of water and take a bath with it. We did this with our daughter too when we spotted many small molus on her torso.

The key thing in the battle against molluscum contagiosum is patience. Using apple cider vinegar is fairly simple. So, good luck to all of you suffering from this skin condition. You will surely win your battle (and that too without burning your pockets !!)