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Thrush and Diaper Rash: Common Infections Caused by Candida

Mar 28, 2024
A child sticking out it's tongue which has thrush on it

Thrush and certain kinds of diaper rash can be caused by the overgrowth of a common yeast known as Candida. These infections can be treated easily and there are things that you can do to help prevent them from happening.

Common factors that can lead to a candida infection include:

  • Hot and humid weather
  • Prolonged diaper use
  • Medication use (such as antibiotics or corticosteroids)

Symptoms of candidiasis can manifest differently depending on the affected area:

  • Thrush is an infection in the mouth of infants characterized by white or creamy yellow spots on the tongue, gum, roof of the mouth or inside of the cheeks. These spots can develop into patches resembling cottage cheese. Thrush may also cause pain while sucking or swallowing. Unlike breastmilk or formula, thrush cannot be easily wiped off. 
  • In the diaper area, candida infections can resemble a diaper rash with small or big red patches and can have raised edges or small bumps.

When to Seek Medical Attention

Contact your child’s care team if you are worried about a candida infection. 

Prevention and Treatment

There is not much to do to prevent thrush. Keeping bottles and pacifiers clean can help.  Once an infant has thrush, an antifungal medicine is needed. If you are breastfeeding, ask your child’s care team about what you can do to keep your nipples from developing a yeast infection, which can be quite painful.

Diaper rashes from candida can often be prevented by making sure that the diaper area stays dry. Frequent diaper changes and even some time without a diaper can help. A barrier ointment can sometimes also help. Sometimes infants with thrush will develop a diaper rash from candida. Once an infant has a diaper rash from candida, treatment with a special antifungal cream or ointment is needed.

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Nationwide Children's Hospital Medical Professional
Alex Kemper, MD
Primary Care Pediatrics

Alex R. Kemper, MD, MPH, MS, is the division chief of Primary Care Pediatrics at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and professor of pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. His research focuses of a wide range of preventive services.

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700 Children’s® features the most current pediatric health care information and research from our pediatric experts – physicians and specialists who have seen it all. Many of them are parents and bring a special understanding to what our patients and families experience. If you have a child – or care for a child – 700 Children’s was created especially for you.