The reason for this post is because I could not find much help on this topic on Google for parents in the UK… I hope that sharing my experiences may help some other mummy who goes crazy over MC…!
Of course it came from a playgroup…
I had been taking Oscar to a few play groups a week ever since he was little. I had heard about how babies would have high chances of catching something, but I will never forget how much I freaked out when I first saw babies sucking on toys, throwing them back into the pile ready for another baby to come by and slobber on. And then freaking out more when I saw Oscar heading towards those toys and doing the same thing. I honestly did not know babies explored the world so much via their mouth before Oscar! So I’m sure you can imagine how grossed out and shocked I was. I knew it would be good for his developing immune system though and this in part helped me to overcome my fear of germ spreading. (Everyone of course has their own levels of germophobia and I didn’t realise until becoming a mum how high my level was!).
One day when Oscar was around 7 months old I was changing his clothes when I noticed a couple of weird bumps on his arms. They didn’t look threatening at all though- normal skin colour, but quite raised looking almost like a white head (like it had something inside, but not hard and not quite pus-like). I kept check on it and to my dismay these spots just kept increasing in number in clusters until it spread to all around his arms and torso, chest and back. I took him to see a GP to discuss that along with his eczema (Oscar had been getting eczema since around 4 months old, coming and going along with the weather changes) as soon as I could.
What is Molluscum Contagiosum??
When the GP told me this thing was a virus with a horrible sounding name – Molluscum Contagiosum, I was horrified and upset. I could also pretty much pin point which play group he must have got it at (a not particularly clean set up, and many babies were grabbing Oscar that day- and vice versa). It turns out that MC is actually a very common skin virus and will clear by itself. Since Oscar’s bumps were not itchy or painful to him and didn’t really affect him, there would be no treatment and the doctor said it should go away by itself in up to 2 years time…. Come again?! 2 years! This made me very upset, especially as the weeks went by and more bumps kept appearing and we didn’t know when it was going to end. I was so glad he got this while young as he wasn’t very aware of it. It was unsightly to look at (although it seems nothing compared to eczema and other skin conditions) but it didn’t affect his quality of life and for that I am so grateful for.
Well the weeks went by and between his MC and eczema and another virus he caught during our move which left his whole body covered in bumps (a virus similar to hand, foot and mouth but much more severe we were told), we were constantly putting creams on him and trying new ones out. I wanted to do a post about which creams worked for us and which didn’t because I could not find any help for this myself online. I did find other posts where some mums used quite strong medicated creams to essentially burst the spots then treated them with tea tree oil etc. I didn’t want to do anything so invasive but I wanted to alleviate his itching (after a few months they did start bothering him and caused him to scratch at them). So here are some of the tips I thought I’d share:
How We Managed MC
- We kept him in long sleeve tops all the time to prevent infecting others. We were careful around pregnant ladies and those with weaker immune systems.
- We tried Aveeno. We normally love this brand so much for dry skin, we use the Aveeno Baby Daily Care Gentle Wash and Soothing Relief Baby Emolient Cream normally, but during this time it didn’t seem to help with neither the eczema or his MC so we stopped using it.
- The MC would not look so bad one day and then the next day it would look angry and I would be worried again. This went on for so long then after some time I decided to switch his bath products to Oilatum brand. I felt his skin felt more moisturised after this and we are currently still using the Junior Bath Additive and Head to Toe Wash. We go through the Bath Additive quite fast!
- When Oscar’s eczema got really bad (along with worsening MC), I made oat flour by simply blending oats, and added a cupful each time to his baths. I felt his skin retained moisture better after his baths with oat flour in and I do think it helps to calm his skin.
- Lastly I tried a new cream recommended by a local pharmacist called isomol gel along with calamine lotion and… I don’t know if the MC was just finishing running its course… but by golly it worked. The bumps turned red but a different red (see photos below) then eventually disappeared after a few days. I couldn’t believe it! (By the way you should be able get these items at any pharmacy in the UK pretty easily).
So of course I have no proof which helped in all of this: if it was the Isomol Gel, the calamine lotion, switching to the Oilatum brand bath products or the adding of oat flour to his baths? It could also have just been time for MC to leave Oscar’s body and give him his lovely baby smooth skin back. All I know is that it left after 5 months and not 2 years like the doctor said so I’m really happy with that.
It got bad before it got good
These are just some images to show the MC a few days before they eventually went down and then faded away. It turned a different kind of red and we knew there was a change happening. Then within a week it was gone! Hurray!
I hope that if your child gets this that you can try some of these methods and see if they work. I would love to hear any results because I actually have not met any other babies with it yet although it is apparently very common. Wishing happy healthy skin to all bubbas! They go through so much!