Candida Skin Infection (Child)

Candida is type of yeast. It grows naturally on the skin and in the mouth. If it grows out of control, it can cause an infection. Candida can cause infections in the genital area, mouth, skin folds, and other moist areas. Any child can get this infection. It’s more common in a child who has a weak immune system or who has been on antibiotic therapy. It’s also more common in a child who is overweight.

Candida causes the skin to become bright red and inflamed. The skin may have small bumps. The border of the infected part of the skin is often raised. The infection causes pain and itching. Sometimes the skin peels and bleeds.

A Candida rash is most often treated with an antifungal cream or ointment. The rash will usually go away within 1 to 2 weeks after starting the medicine. Infections that don’t go away may need a prescription medicine. In rare cases, a bacterial infection can also occur.

Home care

Your child’s healthcare provider will recommend an antifungal cream or ointment for the rash. He or she may also prescribe a medicine for the itch. Follow all instructions for giving these medicines to your child.

General care

For children who wear diapers:

  • Change your child’s diaper as soon as it is soiled. Always change the diaper at least once at night. Put the diaper on loosely.

  • Gently pat the area clean with a warm, wet, soft cloth. Dried stool can be loosened by squeezing warm water on the area or adding a few drops of mineral oil. If you use soap, it should be gentle and scent-free.

  • Allow your child to go without a diaper for periods of time. Exposing the skin to air will help it to heal. Don’t use a hair dryer or heat lamp on your child’s skin. These can cause skin burns.

  • Use a breathable cover for cloth diapers instead of rubber pants. Slit the elastic legs or cover of a disposable diaper in a few places. This will allow air to reach your child’s skin.

  • Don’t use powders such as talc or cornstarch. Talc is harmful to a child’s lungs. Cornstarch can cause the Candida infection to get worse.

  • Wash your hands well with soap and clean running water before and after changing your child’s diaper.

For children who don’t wear diapers:

  • Have your child wear clean, loose cotton underwear and pants every day.

  • Have your child change out of a wet bathing suit right away.

  • Help your child keep his or her genital area clean and dry after using the toilet. Try to prevent your child from scratching the area.

  • Have your child wash his or her hands well with warm water and soap after using the toilet and before eating.

  • Wash your hands well with clean running water and soap after caring for your child. This helps prevent the spread of infection.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your child’s healthcare provider, or as advised. The time it takes the skin to heal varies with the severity of the infection. Candida infections in young children that come back or don’t go away may be a sign of another medical problem.

When to seek medical advice

Call your child's healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your child's healthcare provider

  • Redness and swelling that gets worse

  • Foul-smelling fluid coming from the skin

  • Pain that gets worse

  • Rash doesn't get better after treatment

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