Last spring, I was soaping up our two littlest in the tub when I felt a bumpy patch on the inside of our then five-year-old’s upper thigh. I took a closer look when I was toweling him off, and saw a group of little red bumps.
They didn’t seem to bother him, so I made a mental note and we moved on.
But the next time he was in the tub, I felt them again and this time, they were bigger – less like little bumps now, and more like raised, red, pimply-looking warts.
“What are these things, buddy?” I asked my obviously-clueless-because-he’s-five-son. “Are they itchy or sore or anything?”
He nodded, wrinkling his nose and telling me his “bumps” were bothering him.
Fifteen seconds later, I had consulted Dr. Google and come up with a diagnosis – a skin virus that sounds like something straight out of Harry Potter’s wizarding world. You know, the really gross kind of spell that would have you breaking out in oozing warts.
Actually, that’s pretty close.
Molluscum contagiosm is a nasty little virus that causes little wart-like bumps that are raised and red and just all-around unpleasant. Oh, and here’s the best part – it’s highly contagious, a dreadful thing to tell someone who had just used the same towel on two kids sharing a bathtub.
I couldn’t find a satisfactory treatment for this virus, and I was hoping that the collective internet was just flat wrong when it told me that the virus would run in its course in about a year – actually, that’s the best part – so to the real doctor we went.
By the time we actually got there, more bumps were popping up. He had that cluster on his inner thigh, one on his genitals, and an outlier on the back of his knee. He was scratching them at night, so we had this bandage/hand washing/everyone-gets-their-own-towel thing going as I pictured this virus spreading like wildfire, and me waking up one morning to find warts on my face.
When the doctor came in and asked what was up, I explained the bumps and told him I had already looked online.
He laughed and asked for my diagnosis, nodding his head when I shared the fruits of my research.
One look confirmed both the virus and the jail sentence. I mean, the timeframe.
The silver lining, according to our doc, was that kids under about seven were the ones who seemed susceptible. I sent up a quick word of thanks that I wasn’t in the line of fire, and looked over at our then two-year-old, our son’s bath time buddy.
“Yeah, she may be next,” said the doc.
He told me that individual bumps can be burned or frozen off, but it can take a few visits, and by the time you get those ones sorted out, more are sprouting somewhere else. In his experience, it was better to just let the virus run its course, though the academy seems to be debating that rationale.
Still, I tend to take the less aggressive approach for this kind of stuff, so we just soldiered on as we had been.
Now, less than six months after that first bump showed its blistery little head, he’s in the clear, his little sister managed to completely dodge that bullet, and all I have to say is…
Kids are gross.
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