The most common fungal infections in infants are yeast diaper rash, thrush, and ringworm (which, despite its name, is actually caused by a fungus, not a worm). Athlete’s foot is another fungal infection that is sometimes seen in older children, although it’s rare for babies to get it. Your pediatrician can help you treat these infections, and they won’t cause any long-term problems for your baby.
Signs of yeast diaper rash
- A bright red rash, usually in the folds of the skin instead of the baby’s bottom.
- May have smaller, red, raised bumps along the outer edges of the rash.
- Usual diaper rash treatments will not clear it up.
A yeast diaper rash is different from regular diaper rash. It’s caused by candida, which is a kind of yeast. You may need to use an antifungal cream to treat it, so call your pediatrician as you will need a prescription.
Signs of thrush
- Creamy white patches inside your baby’s mouth that do not wipe off with a washcloth.
- Fussy or irritable when you try to feed.
- If Mom is breastfeeding, her nipples may be red and sore.
Thrush is a yeast infection in the mouth. It’s also caused by candida. Your pediatrician can prescribe antifungal medication. If Mom is breastfeeding, she may need medication, too, so the infection doesn’t pass back and forth from mom to baby.
Signs of ringworm
- Can be on the scalp or the body.
- On the scalp, shows up as small, scaly bald spots that get bigger. They may itch, ooze or look like dandruff.
- On the body, it looks like a red, scaly ring.
Ringworm, athlete’s foot, and jock itch are all caused by the same fungus, called tinea. It’s much more common for kids to get ringworm on the scalp. It can spread from person to person, and kids can also get it from pets. You’ll need prescription medicine to treat it. Be sure to know how to care for your baby’s skin.
Reviewed by Dr. Sara Connolly, December 2018
- Babies often get fungal infections on their skin or in their mouths.
- The most common are yeast diaper rash, thrush, and ringworm on the skin or scalp.
- Treat yeast diaper rash with antifungal cream.