Molluscum contagiosum is a common waterborne disease that makes people apprehensive about entering a public pool. People are, most of the times, left in doubt whether they should enter a swimming pool when they are suffering from this skin disease and some healthy individuals have phobia of entering public pools, regarding contraction of waterborne disease, including molluscum contagiosum. There is no greater form of exercise and recreational activity than taking a plunge in the pool or letting your kids enter the pool with other children. What happens when you have contracted this dreadful skin condition and you are a swimming enthusiast or when your child is suffering from this disease, but he insists on accompanying his other friends to the pool. What then? This brings us to the question, whether one should enter the swimming pool when you have molluscum contagiosum. Should you wait for the skin condition to resolve? Should you take a dive, anyway?
Can You Swim In A Pool With Molluscum Contagiosum?
Well, to answer the question, it really depends on the severity of the skin condition and your tact to deal with the situation that decides whether you can swim despite the skin disease. Good news is that with various precautions, you still can swim in a pool without transmitting the disease to others. Albeit, when the disease is severe, it is best advised to stay away from the pool.
What Are The Facts Regarding Molluscum Contagiosum?
There are various myths surrounding this skin condition and there are many unresearched and unanswered questions. There have been studies regarding the swimming and bathing behavior of people in relation to molluscum contagiosum. The significant variables found were related to swimming in school swimming pools, along with sharing a number of fomites such as bath towels or bath sponge with a person infected with molluscum contagiosum. There was no relation with sharing a public pool, private home pool, swimming at a beach, using a private spa, or sharing a bath tub with a person infected with molluscum contagiosum. The questions whether the molluscum contagiosum virus is eradicated by chlorinated swimming pool water, or whether the virus can survive in swimming pool water and if so then for how long is the virus viable in swimming pool water are still unanswered.
What Precautions Can Be Taken While Swimming?
Swimming with molluscum contagiosum infection does not raise any eye and the people are not prohibited from using a swimming pool. However, one can certainly prevent the infection from transmission and to prevent the transmission of the infection to healthy swimmers, one needs to take certain measures and precautions. These include keeping the area of infection clean, using waterproof bandages to cover the exposed areas of the papules, disposing these bandages once they are soiled and changing them regularly. Other precautions include avoiding the sharing of swimming equipments along with personal items, such as kick boards, goggles, swimming suits, swimming toys in cases of children, bath towels, bath sponges and other equipments that might come in direct contact with the skin.
It is also important to shower before and after coming out of the swimming pool. This is, in fact, a good personal hygiene rather than a preventative measure to avoid transmission, because the public pool water has not been shown to transmit the virus. Special care should be taken in cases of children because this is common disease that is prevalent among kids of 1-10 years of age group. Since, the virus is transmitted from skin-to-skin contact and fomites, it makes quite difficult to keep children from sharing their toys, hugging and making casual physical contact.
Molluscum contagiosum is a non-serious and benign condition that resolves on its own. However, this should not be the grounds to neglect the condition because if not taken seriously and neglected, it can be real problematic and discomforting. It is best to take proper preventative measures and also treatment, when necessary.
DermNet NZ – Molluscum contagiosum Link: https://dermnetnz.org/topics/molluscum-contagiosum/
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Molluscum Contagiosum: Transmission Link: https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/molluscum-contagiosum/transmission.html
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