How to Prevent and Treat Children’s Fungal Infections

Lately, we’ve been focused on practical content to help parents out.  We will still continue posting health policy related information, but we also want to cover practical issues to help our everyday parents.

Today we’re covering fungal infections.

A fungal infection occurs in children for many different reasons.  It can be something as simple as yeast building up in the body after taking an antibiotic.  Fungus is natural and the type of germ that lives on everyone.  It’s easy to treat because it rarely spreads below the skin but there are ways to prevent fungal infections from spreading.

Fungal Nail Infection

A typical nasty fungal nail infection.

Types of Fungal Infections

Knowing what types of signs and symptoms to look for in your child can help you treat fungal infections effectively.  Fungi, which signifies the presence of more than one fungus, can be found on different parts of the body including the hair, skin, nails, groin, and feet.

Let’s take a look at the different types of fungal infections that kids get:

  • Tinea.  A tough one to detect, tinea often starts out the size of a pea.  It’s red in appearance and as it grows, it becomes a circle or ring.  This type of fungal infection can be found in the hair, on the skin or nails.  Scalp ringworm is found on the head where body ringworm affects the skin in other areas of the body.
  • Athlete’s Foot.  A very common fungal infection, athlete’s foot occurs on the feet.  It typically appears between the toes but can also be found on the toenails as well as the bottom or sides of the feet.  A fungal nail infection can worsen if feet are not kept dry.  Moisture helps bacteria grow.
  • Candida.  Similar to a fungus, candida is yeast.  It’s the most common type of skin infection infants and toddlers that wear diapers get.  It can also occur in the mouths of babies.  It’s white in appearance.  Candida affects the skin around the nails as well as other soft, moist areas around body openings.  Older girls can get a yeast infection in and around the vagina.  It can be very uncomfortable to deal with and treat.
  • Jock Itch.  A fungal infection that is often joked about, jock itch isn’t funny.  It occurs in males and females and affects the groin and upper thighs.  It can be very uncomfortable and cause lots of itching to occur hence its name.  Sweat can aggravate symptoms.

There are a number of different things that can cause fungal infections to occur.  They are not necessarily caused by poor hygiene despite what some people may think.  A child may have a fungal infection because of other reasons.  Antibiotics often increase the amount of yeast that is in the body.  They alone can cause a yeast infection.

Causes of Different Fungal Infections

Fungal infections vary in severity from child to child.  Some of the most telltale signs of athlete’s foot include peeling, cracking or scaling of the feet, redness, blisters or softening of the skin, and itching, burning or both.  Some of the symptoms of jock itch include itching, chafing or burning in the groin or thigh area, a red, raised rash, flaking, peeling or cracking skin, and redness in the groin or thigh.

Yeast infections can occur in different areas of the body.    Some signs of a skin fold yeast infection includes rash, oozing patches, pimply bumps, itching, and burning.  Yeast infections in the nail beds include pain, pus, white or yellow nails that separate from the nail bed, and swelling.

Thrush signs include white patches inside the cheeks and on the tongue as well as pain.  A young woman will have a vaginal yeast infection if there is a white or yellow discharge present, redness in the external area of the vagina, burning or itching.  Fungal infections like these require immediate attention as they can worsen quickly.

Treatments for Fungal Infections

There are a number of different creams and lotions that are sold over-the-counter that treat fungal infections.  Stronger prescription treatments may be recommended after a visit to a doctor or physician.  Bathing regularly and changing clothing can help ease symptoms and prevent fungal infections from spreading.

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