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Primary Care Liaison

Molluscum contagiosum - pre referral guideline

  • The following pre-referral guideline covers molluscum contagiosum for children of all ages.

    Initial work-up

    • Educate the family that molluscum is a common skin problem that is harmless. The spots are self-limiting however can be present for several months or more than a year. It is contagious and can be spread from person to person (skin to skin contact) or to different areas in the same person. It can also be spread by children sharing baths or pools.

    Recommended pre-referral treatment

    • Refer to the handout on molluscum.
    • Topical treatments include:
      • Tape stripping.
      • Irritating solutions eg. benzoyl peroxide 10%, Tretinoin cream.
      • Vinegar salt solution ie. Burows solution 1:10. 
    • Other treatments may result in scarring:
      • Squeezing the central core.
      • Liquid nitrogen freezing.
    • At home care:
      • Shower instead of bathing.
      • Wash and dry bath toys after use.
      • Do not share baths with other children.
      • Single towel use.

    When to refer

    • Diagnosis is in question.
    • Unresponsive to treatment.
    • Involvement of moderate to severe eczema.

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    Contact information

    Clinical advice


    Department of Dermatology:

    (03) 9345 5510

    Department of Allergy and Immunology:

    (03) 9345 5701

    RCH Emergency Department

    (03) 9345 6477



    Booking enquiries 
    appointment rescheduling
     (Urgent bookings and for parents)

    (03) 9345 6180 

    Rural doctors only

    (03) 9345 6789 

    Admission enquiries


    General admission enquiries:

    (03) 9345 6172

    ED admission enquiries:

    (03) 9345 6477

    After hours / Switchboard:

    (03) 9345 5522



    Seriously unwell child: 


    RCH Drug info-line:

    (03) 9345 5208



    • Generic parent handout (about RCH pre-referral guidelines)
    • Kids Health Info - parent information website
    • Molluscum - parent fact sheet
      Contains all referral forms, clinic information, other pre-referral guidelines and parent information.
    • Feedback
      Please give feedback on this guideline - / telephone: (03) 9345 4645 / fax (03) 9345 4650


    Paediatric Handbook online Eighth Edition Pages 298-299. Blackwell Publishing. By the staff of the Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia.

    Copyright and Disclaimer 

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