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Dr. Andrew Rynne
MD
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Skin Disorders Thrush and Other Yeast Infections in Children

Thrush and Other Yeast Infections in Children

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Yeast infections are caused by various species of a yeast-like fungus called Candida particularly the species Candida albicans. Yeast infections may flare up and then heal in most people; however, in newborns or individuals with impaired immune systems, yeast can cause more serious or chronic infections. Yeast also can thrive in chronically moist folds of skin, such as in the groin.

How do babies get yeast infections?

Many infants acquire Candida infections from their mothers during the process of birth. Yeast exists naturally in the mother's vagina. When the child is delivered through the birth canal, the baby comes in contact with the yeast.

Symptoms of oral thrush

  • Thrush is a yeast infection of the mouth and throat. Thrush can also be associated with yeast infection of the esophagus.
  • Thrush appears as creamy white, curd-like patches on the tongue and inside of the mouth and back of the throat.
  • Individuals with impaired immune systems like HIV, steroid treatment, diabetes mellitus. yeast infections are more common.

How does yeast affect diaper rash?

Candida may infect an infant's diaper area and worsen a diaper rash. This is because yeast can grow very readily on irritated, moist skin. The infected skin is usually fiery red with areas that may have a raised red border.

Can thumb sucking cause problems with yeast?

Children who suck their thumbs or other fingers may occasionally develop Candida around their fingernails. This causes redness at the edges of the nails.

Can a nursing mother acquire yeast infections from her infant?

Nursing mothers are at risk for developing candida infections on their breasts (this is called mastitis) and can be treated with the same medication that is used for infants.

Treatment

  • Oral thrush and yeast infections, such as Candida diaper rash, are usually treated with the antifungal antibiotic called Nystatin either by mouth or in a topical cream
  • For children with diaper rash, diapers should be changed frequently and the child's skin gently cleansed with water and a mild soap, rinsed, and patted dry
  • Barrier creams or ointments such as Destin or A&D are helpful
  • While cornstarch may be recommended for mild diaper rash, it should not be used for children with significantly inflamed skin.
  • High-absorbency disposable diapers may help keep the skin dry
  • Plastic pants that do not allow air to circulate over the diaper area should not be used, although the diapering system should be able to hold urine or liquid feces

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