Candidiasis can be in the form of:
· Diaper rash
· Oral thrush
· Candida paronychia
· Vaginal yeast infection
In healthy newborns, the most common form of candidiasis is a
diaper rash. Skin in the diaper area becomes red and tender, especially
inside skin folds and creases. In general, any diaper rash that
lasts for 3 days or longer may be candidiasis.
· Oral Thrush
Candidiasis may appear as oral "thrush." in healthy
newborns. In oral thrush, the Candida fungus invades parts of
the mouth and throat, causing cracks in the corners of the mouth
and whitish or yellowish patches on the lips, tongue, palate,
and inside the cheeks.
When these patches are scraped or rubbed, pinpoint
areas of bleeding can be seen underneath. Often, a baby with oral
thrush may have no other symptoms than the patches. Sometimes
the patches are painful, however, and the child has problems feeding,
or is generally fussy and irritable. Newborns can develop thrush
from mothers who have vaginal "yeast infections" at
the time of delivery. When this happens, symptoms of oral thrush
usually begin 7 to 10 days after birth. Candida infections can
be very serious in premature infants and in children with cancer,
HIV infection, or any weakness of the immune system. In these
children, Candida infection may spread through the blood to attack
the lungs, brain, spleen, kidneys, and liver.
· Candida paronychia
Children of any age may develop Candida paronychia, an infection
of the skin around the nails. Fingernails are most often affected,
especially in children who spend a lot of time with their hands
in water. The cuticle and skin around the nails becomes swollen,
red, and sometimes painful. The fingernails may grow to be abnormally
shaped or colored, or may actually lift away from the skin.
Vagina yeast infection
Older girls and women may develop Candida vulvovaginitis, an infection
of the vagina and the area around the vaginal opening. Also known
as vaginal "yeast infection", symptoms include: vaginal
pain, itching, or redness; a thick, white "cheesy" vaginal
discharge; pain or discomfort on urination. Sometimes whitish
or yellowish patches on the skin of the vaginal area (these look
similar to the patches seen in the mouth of a baby with oral thrush).
Vaginal yeast infections are caused by a fungus
called Candida albicans Yeast are tiny organisms that normally
live in small numbers on the skin and inside the vagina. The acidic
environment of the vagina helps keep yeast from growing. If the
vagina becomes less acidic, too many yeast can grow and cause
a vaginal infection.
The acidic balance of the vagina can be changed
by your period (menstruation), pregnancy, diabetes, some antibiotics,
birth control pills and steroids. Moisture and irritation of the
vagina also seem to encourage yeast to grow. Women are advised
not to douche or use feminine hygiene sprays, deodorant sanitary
pads or tampons, or bubble bath, and avoid using colored or perfumed
toilet paper. These items seem to affect the balance of acidity
of the vagina and can lead to symptoms of a yeast infection.
Also, in both sexes, any part of the body that is
constantly moist, warm, and dark can be a site of Candida infection.
This is especially true of skin folds in the areas of the scrotum,
underarms, inner thighs, areas between fingers and toes, and the
skin over the base of the spine and under the breasts (in older
girls). In any one of these areas, candidiasis may appear as itchy
areas of moist, crusted skin, sometimes with bright-red patches
that may become infected with pus.
Healthy children may develop a Candida infection after being treated
with antibiotics. Antibiotics kill many "harmless" bacteria
that normally compete with Candida for a place in the microscopic
environment of areas like the mouth and vagina. When this happens,
Candida is free to grow without competition, and the result is
often either oral thrush or a vaginal infection.
You can prevent yeast infection
In most healthy children, candidiasis can be prevented by keeping
the skin clean and dry. If an overweight child has repeated candidiasis
between skin folds, weight loss and exercise may help.
To prevent Candida diaper rash, change soiled or
wet diapers immediately. If you use cloth diapers, rinse them
several times after washing to remove traces of soap or detergent
that can irritate your baby's skin. Avoid using fabric softeners
- even these can be skin irritants. Some experts suggest allowing
your baby to go without diapers for several hours each day. This
is to give irritated skin a chance to dry and "breathe."
This is easiest when the baby can be placed in a crib that has
waterproof sheets. For many parents it is more practical to buy
a nonprescription diaper cream or ointment, like zinc oxide, to
soothe and protect areas of skin that are prone to diaper rash.
To prevent Candida infections of the fingernails,
try to keep little hands from prolonged contact with water.
To prevent vaginal candidiasis, keep the vaginal
area clean using unscented soap, and avoid vaginal sprays or douches.
Have the child wear cotton panties, or those with a cotton crotch
because cotton doesn't trap moisture or block air circulation
like nylon or polyester. After swimming, make sure your child
quickly changes into dry clothing.