While molluscum contagiosum is not serious, it can be embarrassing and disruptive to your daily routine. It can be particularly difficult to manage in the summer; the red bumps and clusters can make you feel like you have to cover up, causing you discomfort in the heat. Moreover, because the virus is so contagious, you have to take precautions to prevent spreading it to others.
Molluscum contagiosum can last up to one year if you don’t pursue treatment options, and you can transfer it to other people during that entire time period. To minimize the virus’s effects, avoid the ten following activities:
1. Sharing Towels
During the summer, hanging out by the pool or enjoying a day at the beach are common outings. And while sharing towels is usually no big deal, if you have molluscum, your children or friends can get the virus if they use the same towel as you. For as long as you have the tell-tale lumps or lesions, keep your towels separate from the rest of the household’s linens and make sure no one picks up your towel by accident.
2. Wrestling or Rough Housing
Whether you are an athlete or just love rough housing with the kids, wrestling has to be put on hold while you are dealing with the virus. The close proximity, skin contact and sweat-inducing workout make wrestling an easy way to spread molluscum to other people. Instead, try activities that are not contact sports, like baseball or tennis. Just make sure you clean any equipment or toys, so the virus does not transfer to anyone who picks the items up.
3. Exchanging Clothes
If you have a friend who regularly borrows your clothes, you need to put that arrangement on hiatus. Even after washing your clothes, the molluscum virus can still cling to the fibers, potentially spreading it to anyone who wears the garments. Wait until the red lumps are completely gone before you start exchanging items again.
Shaving with molluscum contagiosum can be very painful. The red lumps are usually painless, but they can become itchy, especially if you nick yourself while shaving. Furthermore, shaving can spread the virus to other areas of your body. If your razor touches an infected area, then you shave another body part, you may get cause the lumps to appear on different areas.
Similarly, not only is waxing more painful when you have molluscum, but it is also riskier. The wax can spread the virus to other body parts, causing the bumps to appear and for the infection lifecycle to start over again.
6. Sexual Activity
Molluscum contagiosum is extremely contagious, particularly with skin to skin contact. If you have signs of molluscum in the genital area, you can spread the virus to your partner during sex. Avoid any sexual activity or contact with the infected areas until the lesions completely heal and fade away.
7. Going to the Sauna
The moist and hot air of a sauna is a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses like molluscum. While you are coping with the virus, avoid saunas to prevent spreading it to others.
8. Using Gym Equipment
If you love going to the gym, be aware that others can get the virus if they use machines after you. Either work out at home or thoroughly clean every surface with antiseptic after using any weight or cardio machines.
9. Washing with a Loofah
Your favorite shower loofah can worsen your bumps from molluscum contagiosum. Your regular soap can irritate the lumps, making them feel dry and itchy. And if your loofah touches the infected area, then is used to wash other parts of your body, you can spread the virus to other patches of skin and cause more lesions to appear. Instead, use soap specially designed to treat molluscum and use a separate washcloth to cleanse the area where the bumps are present.
Absent-mindedly scratching at your skin can irritate the lumps and spread the virus to other parts of your body. The bumps—while usually painless—can become very tender and sore if you scratch at them, and they will become increasingly itchy. Use a topical treatment to minimize the itch and let the lesions heal. If you find you scratch your skin in your sleep, wear soft mittens or gloves to bed to prevent tearing open the lumps and spreading the virus.
While molluscum contagiosum is not a serious disease, it is an annoying condition, especially during the hot summer months. The ugly clusters of bumps can force you to wear long sleeves or pants, and common activities like going in the pool or playing sports require more preparation than usual to minimize the chances of spreading the virus. By avoiding the ten activities listed, you can help limit the virus’ reach and prevent transferring molluscum to others. While the virus will eventually clear up on its own, using a topical treatment can hasten the healing process and get you back to wearing tank tops and playing outside much faster.