I am writing this blog in the hopes that some desperate mother out there whose child has caught this awful virus will read this. That she will know there are safe options to get rid of Molluscum Contagiosum, a frustrating, annoying sometimes painful rash her child has contracted. How do I know this? My daughter fell victim to this awful viral rash and now my son has caught it as well, but I do have peace of mind knowing I have found something that works.
My daughter is 4 years old now but I noticed her first ‘bump’ when she was about 2 ½ years old. She was around several children who had Molluscum Contagiosum so I figured she may end up with it. But what can you do? Kids are bound to catch whatever is going around right? And from what I had seen the virus caused a bump or two that eventually went away..so how bad could it be? Little did I know the difficulty it would cause, not only to my daughter’s skin, but to my confidence as being a mother who only wants to help her child.
In my efforts to get rid of this rash, I did a lot of my own research to learn about what I was up against. There are several details to know about this virus.
What to Know About Molluscum Contagiosum
1) It takes a long time to get rid of. Some articles I read cited 6-18 months. I realize this is probably not what you want to hear and I will admit my daughter was closer to the 18 month estimate. But that was only because I was going about it all wrong in the beginning.
2) The virus is contagious among children but usually does not spread to adults. The fact that it had a small incidence of spreading to adults made it less ‘scary’ to me. Having a feeling of immunity made this enemy, smaller and easier to go up against.
3) Molluscum Contagiosum thrives in water. If you do nothing else, stop bathing your child every day. There is a lot of research that says only to bathe your child 1-2 times a week unless they are visibly soiled. And when you’re dealing with Molluscum Contagiosum, this will be to your child’s benefit in that respect as well. This mostly applies to children who have the virus in several areas of the body. One or two spots can be covered with minimal effects from a bath. Showers or even a good old fashioned wipe down with a rag for the little ones is what you’ll want to do.
Just knowing some of the basics can help you on your way to getting rid of the virus. So your next question is probably…what did you try? I will outline my methods but first I want to tell you about my daughter’s case in a bit more detail so you know the range of how extreme it can get. I would estimate she had moderate to severe case compared to other children I’ve seen with it.
How it All Started
She started with one bump on one of her legs. At first I just let it go because it was small and insignificant. After a few months it never went away and she had a few more. It was then that I started looking for natural remedies to make them go away. In my online research and talking to other parents of children with Molluscum Contagiosum I found several natural options that were worth a shot: coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, essential oils (specifically tea tree and lemon), and iodine.
Trying to Find a Cure
I wanted to hit it hard in the beginning so I started with a mixture of olive oil as a base and a few drops of Tea Tree essential oil and Lemon essential oil. It is always important to dilute essential oils when you are using them. I applied this to each bump with a cotton swab once to twice daily for a few weeks. Then I tried both applying and letting it air dry and covering it with a bandage. I gave it some time but didn’t notice much of a difference. At this point she had the virus for 3-4 months, almost no improvement and a few bumps on each leg and one or two on her arms.
My next attempt was apple cider vinegar and tea tree oil. Although they were diluted I must not have diluted them enough. She has sensitive skin to begin with but to three particular areas on her legs that were about the size of a quarter this mixture caused redness and burning. So not only did it not help rid her of the Molluscum Contagiosum but it would be awhile before I would want to try anything again for fear of irritating her sensitive skin.
The Virus Continues to Spread
About 4-6 months later she had about 8-10 bumps on each leg, and still a few on her arms. Some had swelled to the size of a pencil eraser and caused her pain, itching and irritation. It would be hard for her to sleep or even relax sometimes. Although I still had this feeling of defeat when I thought about this virus, looking at the pain it caused my little girl motivated me once again to try to figure out a solution.
I wanted to go with a less harsh option this time around so we tried coconut oil. I have heard this works for some people, but for her I guess the virus was just too stubborn. We would apply this to both legs, sometimes covering it and sometimes not to see if one method worked better. After 2-3 months of that off and on, it seemed like maybe one or two bumps had gone away but for the most part they were largely unaffected.
Now more than a year into this virus I thought, surely it would have run its course. We tried several natural ways to get rid of it and if anything it was getting worse. It was then that I decided to take her to her pediatrician to get a diagnosis and find out if there was any other options we could try. I didn’t have high hopes but I was desperate for answers.
Seeking Medical Advice
When I got her in to see the pediatrician she confirmed my suspected diagnosis and said there wasn’t much we could do. There were a few antiviral creams out there but for such a small child they could do more harm than good. The last resort option was surgery but that was only in extreme cases. She basically said to keep them covered and wait until they go away. It was everything I already knew but I was reaching for anything at this point. Once again, I felt helpless as a mother trying to help my daughter. I decided to follow the doctor’s advice and went on a break.
Desperately Trying Again
It would only take a few months of watching my daughter cry in pain with some of these bumps that hurt to touch, would get irritated and sometimes burst open and ooze to make me want to try again. We tried a very dilute mixture of iodine and tea tree oil applied with a cotton swab which did seem to dry out the Molluscum Contagiosum a bit. I applied it faithfully morning and night for a few weeks. It seemed to dry them out a little but it wasn’t quite the result I hoped for. So I wanted to try apple cider vinegar again since she was a little older and I heard from one parent I spoke with that it worked. Thinking I wanted to dilute it and dry out the skin I thought of putting it in her bath water.
For a few months she would soak in an apple cider vinegar bath every day. We finally saw some results with this, although the bumps were increasing in numbers. They were drying out and I thought I had found the cure! I fell into the routine of doing apple cider vinegar baths every day, not really paying attention to the big picture.
Our Last Ditch Effort
It was then that one of my cousins asked me how the treatment was going for her. I told her I was doing apple cider vinegar baths and it seemed to be drying them out. She said she read baths helped them spread. When thinking about it, although they were drying out, the numbers had increased dramatically around the same time we started doing baths and had now spread to her torso and trunk. How did I not put two and two together?
Finding Our Natural Cure
We decided we would try apple cider vinegar by itself every day for a month and see if it worked. I bought several boxes of small square bandages and would apply a dot of apple cider vinegar to each bandage and then put one on each and every bump of Molluscum Contagiosum. After 7 days of apple cider vinegar and keeping the bumps covered I had found my miracle! Almost half of the Molluscum Contagiosum scabbed over. By week two more than half were now just small faint marks. At the end of week three more than half were faint marks and the large bumps were finally scabbed over.
Since then we have let them alone. It has been almost 3 months and she doesn’t have any new bumps. The bumps that scabbed over and turned into faint scars are almost unnoticeable. I remain firmly convinced in the natural healing elements of apple cider vinegar. Although my son who is almost a year old has a few bumps, I have already started with the apple cider vinegar and I know there is no reason to fear this virus…because I found its ‘kryptonite’!