Knowing when something is up with your kid's health can be tricky for parents. Particularly when your little patient is still learning to talk, it's often on parents to spot the symptoms of an illness. So when it comes to toddlers and yeast infections, here's what parents need to know about the signs, causes, and treatments. Yes, even toddlers can get these annoying infections, but they're generally not that difficult to treat.
"Yeast infections are caused by a fungus called candida. Candida is found all over our body and usually lives on the skin, in the mouth, and in our gut. It usually does not bother us but sometimes if there is overgrowth of candida, it can cause a yeast infection," pediatricians Dr. Anandita Pal and Dr. Samira Armin tell Romper over email. "This can occur as a result of antibiotic use, excessive moisture, and irritation to the area." But why do these infections seem to affect little kids so often? "Infants and toddlers are most susceptible due to immature immune systems," dermatologist Susan Bard, MD, tells Romper. Although yeast infections can affect pretty much anyone, as explained in WebMD, toddlers are particularly vulnerable. (Honestly, if any stage of life is associated with "excessive moisture," it's those drool-filled toddler years.)
For the most part, the signs of a yeast infection in toddlers are not difficult to spot. "Candida in the diaper area is fairly common in toddlers. You may notice a red rash with smaller areas of rash surrounded by a raised border," physician and educator Leann Poston, MD, tells Romper. The rash may even extend to other areas of the body, including the armpits or neck creases, as Dr. Poston explains. (It lives in warm, moist areas throughout the body). "It can also present as yellow to white plaque on the tongue and oral mucosa, this is known as thrush," says Dr. Bard. Yep, thrush is actually another name for a yeast infection.
For the most part, treatment for yeast infections in toddlers is simple. "Candida (yeast infections) are treated with antifungal medication. Antifungal creams are applied to the diaper rash and a liquid antifungal such as nystatin is used in the mouth. With treatment, thrush or candida diaper rash usually goes away in about two weeks," says Dr. Poston. If your toddler does get a yeast infection, then a quick trip to the pediatrician should help clear it all up soon enough.
Physician and educator Leann Poston MD, MBA, M.Ed of Invigor Medical