Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice – {Molluscum Contagiosum}

July 15, 2013

(Warning! If you are squeamish you may not want to look at the pictures contained in this post.)

I’ve come to hate bath time at our house the past few days.

It’s a battle.

As soon as I mention the word bath, little one runs in the opposite direction. She knows that bath time also means time to take the band aids off and clean her booboos. Something she equates to pure torture. I don’t blame her for feeling that way.

We are not talking one or two bandaids, more like 20. 20 bandaids that have to be changed pretty much every night.

Why, you ask?

Little One has something called Molluscum Contagiosum, a mild skin disease caused by a virus. The virus only affects the outer layer of the skin and presents as small white bumps that are smooth and firm. They look a little like a white head with the major difference that they cannot be popped.

Usually, these bumps go away on their own but it can take up to 4 years for them to disappear.

After the treatment

After the treatment

I was all for leaving them alone until one of the nurses at camp gave me a very stern lecture about the virus and the fact that it is contagious if the kids share a towel at swim or if Little One scratches the area and touches something.

The boy has had them when he was small and they did go away on their own. I also had spoken to the pediatrician about it and showed him the affected areas when we were in for a check up before camp started. You’d think, he would have mentioned that it’s contagious and told me I needed to keep the bumps covered.

Long story short, hubby took Little One to a dermatologist this past Thursday to have a look. Well, she did more than have look. She treated the “bumps” with something called Canthacur, a chemical compound secreted by many species of blister beetles. It’s often referred to as beetle juice.


When I got home from camp, hubby handed me a piece of paper with care instructions and told me the “medicine” had to be washed off with soap and warm water at 6 pm so it would stop the reaction.

After dinner, I took Little One to the bathroom to remove the scotch/medical tape the doctor had applied all over her and put her in the tub to wash her off and then give her a bath.

This part is hard to write and even harder to remember…

You know, how they say, I don’t know who “they” is, but they say, that if you rip a bandaid of fast it’ll hurt less. So with this philosophy in mind I gently loosened a corner of tape on Little One’s chest and ripped. Well, the screaming and crying that followed stopped me in my tracks.



What I didn’t realize until just then was the fact that the bumps had already started blistering and when I tore the tape off I took skin with it. My poor baby was hysterical.

From that point on it was slow going and I had to very gently remove the rest of the tape. (Speaking to a friend later on whose daughter had the same issue made me wonder why they put the tape on in the first place, as her doctor hadn’t done that.)

The worst was yet to come. After about 20 minutes or so and many, many tears, I stood Little One in the shower and let the water run warm out of the faucet. Now, remember, most of the bumps had blistered already and some were open but I still had to clean them up with SOAP and water.

Let’s just say, I won’t forget her piercing screams anytime soon. Middle came running because she thought something had happened. No, nothing did, only mommy causing her baby unspeakable pain. She cried so hard that it made her throw up in the tub.

Once I rinsed off all the soap and the tub, Little One had calmed down enough for a short warm bath.

After that I dried her off and bandaged her up. Very slowly, very carefully. A tab of bacitracin, a waterproof bandaid. Rinse and repeat. About 20 times.

Now, 4 days later, the “booboos” look a lot better but each night we go through the same dance. I will only remove the bandaids that are coming loose and then clean those.

all bandaged up

all bandaged up

It’s exhausting!!! And in hindsight, I wish, I would have just left it alone and kept them covered with bandaids so she wouldn’t spread the virus.

One of Little One’s counselors told me about Lemon Myrtle as an alternative treatment and I want to look into that in case the doctor missed some spots or the treatment didn’t work the first time. Yeah, that can happen. Believe me when I say that I will not put her through this again – ever!!!

Have you heard of Molluscum Contagiosum? Do you know any alternative treatments? Leave a comment if you have anything at all to share relating to this.

I hope, that none of your children will have to deal with this. And if they do, maybe look for an alternative treatment to this.

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  • Helen July 15, 2013 at 11:02 pm

    Oh Susi, I’m so sorry for you and your sweet baby. How painful for you both. 🙁 I hope she’s feeling better quickly. Extra love and snuggles for that one!

    • Susi July 16, 2013 at 2:21 pm

      Thank you so much Helen. I hope so too.

  • Sarah July 15, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    have you tried the adhesive remover stuff they use in hospitals to get IV tape off of kids? it comes in a little square package like alcohol swabs but im not sure where you can buy it. you could also try baby oil to loosen them first. good luck!

    • Susi July 16, 2013 at 2:15 pm

      Sarah, my co-worker brought me some of the adhesive remover today to try. I think, you can get it at a medical supply store. We’ll see how it goes.

  • Holly July 15, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    How awful! I am so sorry. I hope all the blisters heal and never come back!

    I have never heard of the virus.

    • Susi July 16, 2013 at 2:13 pm

      Holly, it’s apparently more common in humid climates. I’ve heard of quite a few cases of it since working at camp.

  • Rorybore July 17, 2013 at 2:26 am

    Aww poor Little. I was almost in tears just reading this.
    My son had Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease once which is also blister like rash. We didn’t have to do any kind of treatment really – just keep it clean and then dry, a special lotion if it itches. but the problem was the blisters in the mouth. your poor wee one is trying to eat — and it is causing them so much pain. I remember we gave him apple juice to keep hydrated and the screams because the acidity of the juice on the blisters was awful. we didn’t even think!
    I do really think it is almost harder on us when our little ones are sick or hurt.
    Hope Little gets better soon.

    • Susi July 17, 2013 at 7:59 am

      That sounds horrible. At least for me the worst is over. I couldn’t even imagine the blisters in the mouth…

  • Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell July 17, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    Poor baby, it sounds like such a miserable thing to deal with. It’s the first time I’ve heard of this!

    • Susi July 17, 2013 at 7:17 pm

      It primarily affects young kids maybe that’s why you hadn’t heard of it. it’s definitely very common down here… I’ve heard so many people tell me about it ever since we discovered it on Little One.

  • Karen July 17, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    Wow, I had never heard of this before! It is so sad when we have to cause our own children pain. I’m sorry you have to do this. I agree that I would think the pediatrician would have mentioned that it was contagious before going off to camp. I think sometimes their minds are somewhere else and don’t think about our daily lives the same way we do.

    • Susi July 17, 2013 at 7:15 pm

      That’s what it seems like to me. She’s doing alright and most of the spots are healing nicely. Some of them I’m even able to leave uncovered.

  • TBM July 18, 2013 at 4:43 am

    I haven’t heard of it. I’m sorry that your little one is experiencing this. It must be horrible. and very hard on you! My thoughts are with you both.

    • Susi July 18, 2013 at 6:32 pm

      It’s hard on both of us. But she’s doing much better already.

  • Greta July 18, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    Oh, poor sweet girl! And poor you…there is nothing worse than causing your child pain, even if it’s to help her. I hope it clears up for her quickly.

    • Susi July 18, 2013 at 6:32 pm

      Greta, it’s already getting much better. Thanks.

      • Jill Shipp July 19, 2013 at 2:22 pm

        Please keep us updated. My 2 1/2 year old has about 8 on her back. I made her an appointment with the dermatologist, because we tried Zymaderm and Retin-a with no help. I am still up in the air about using the beetle juice and I would love to know your opinion.

        • Susi July 19, 2013 at 4:36 pm

          Jill, if they are on the back, I would just let them be. As long as she is wearing a shirt, or swim shirt she can’t transfer them to anyone. They are supposed to go away on their own. Good luck!

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