A Guide to Viral Rashes in Adults and Children

Because molluscum contagiosum can go away on its own, you may not need treatment. But the doctor can remove individual bumps by scraping or freezing them. This procedure could leave a scar.

Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a viral infection that occurs due to the reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus—the same virus responsible for chickenpox.

While most viral rashes aren’t considered serious, only a healthcare provider can provide an accurate diagnosis for your rash. Factors such as the type of viral rash you have, your medical history, and your current health condition, can affect the outcomes of a viral rash. If you have a rash, contact your healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

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Molluscum Contagiosum

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The rash usually causes flat, red spots or blisters. These occur on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet.

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Chickenpox Rash

Molluscum contagiosum may cause small lumps or lesions (around 1–5 mm in diameter). They mainly appear on the skin of the thighs, buttocks, groin, genitals and abdomen. Molluscum contagiosum usually does not affect other parts of the body.

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Molluscum contagiosum is a skin rash caused by a virus. The rash has small clear or flesh-colored bumps. The bumps can spread from one part of the body to another or from person to person. Usually, the rash goes away on its own in 6–12 months, but can take longer.

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To reduce the risk of molluscum contagiosum transmission during sexual contact, use condoms (including internal condoms ) or dams.

If you work in schools or in areas where infections can easily spread, the following strategies can also limit the spreading of some viruses:

Molluscum contagiosum: Signs and symptoms

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The following pictures show you what molluscum contagiosum tends to look like. This lineup begins by showing you what the bumps look like when they first appear and ends with what you may see right before the skin clears.

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What does molluscum contagiosum look like?

It is essential to seek guidance from a healthcare provider if you suspect your rash is caused by a virus. Many viral rashes can look alike. A healthcare provider can accurately diagnose the origin of the rash, determine if it is viral in nature, and rule out other potential causes.

Doctors can usually tell a rash is molluscum by looking at it. Sometimes they might suggest that a person see a dermatologist (skin doctor), but most teens won’t need this.

Molluscum Contagiosum

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Chickenpox is a highly contagious viral infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus. The chickenpox rash appears about two weeks after exposure to the virus.

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When a rash doesn’t resolve and you have other symptoms such as fever, body aches, and fatigue, it may be a sign of a more serious condition. Seek immediate medical care if you experience any of the following symptoms:

While they can cover large areas of your body and look alarming, viral rashes usually resolve within a few days to a few weeks without treatment.

If you are pregnant and have symptoms of rubella or learn you’ve been exposed to the virus, contact your healthcare provider immediately. The virus can cause congenital rubella syndrome, resulting in serious birth defects.

Molluscum contagiosum

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If you notice any unusual skin lesions, see your doctor or health professional for an accurate diagnosis.

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What Else Should I Know?

This skin infection is usually only painful when scratching or rubbing infects the bumps with bacteria.

Healthcare providers typically consider this infection to be mild. However, if you are in the early stages of your pregnancy, rubella can pose significant risks. Contracting rubella during the initial four months of pregnancy substantially increases the likelihood of severe birth defects in your unborn child.

A viral rash is a skin condition that can occur when you contract a viral infection. Rashes from viral infections can affect you at any age and may cause a series of bumps or spots that may itch, burn, or change color—depending on the exact infection you have. Some of the more well-known types of viral rashes include chickenpox, rubella, and measles. Fortunately, your rash symptoms often go away as you gradually recover from the infection.

A Guide to Viral Rashes in Adults and Children

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Sarah Jividen, RN, BSN, is a trained neuro/trauma, and emergency room nurse turned healthcare freelance writer. As a journalism major, she combined her love for writing with her passion for high-level patient care.

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Molluscum Contagiosum Treatment

This photo contains medical imagery.

The need for treatment of a viral rash depends on the type of rash, your medical history, age, and current physical condition.

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