Pediatric fungal infections result from an imbalance in the natural flora of your child’s skin. Some degree of skin fungi is normal, especially in moist areas of the body, such as between the toes or in the diaper area. When a fungal infection occurs, your child’s skin may become irritated, and they can experience itching, swelling, scaling, or even blistering.
There are a few different types of fungal infections that can be common in kids.
Types of Fungal Infection in Kids
Ringworm can occur in the feet (athlete’s foot), the groin area (jock itch), the scalp (tinea capitis), the nails (tinea unguium), and elsewhere on the body (tinea corporis). Wherever it occurs, it is characterized by an itchy ring-like rash. Other skin problems can mimic a fungal infection, so be sure to visit your doctor when in doubt. Thankfully, the name ringworm is a bit misleading. This fungal infection gets its name from the signature circular appearance of the fungal lesions. No worms are involved in a ringworm infection.
Symptoms of ringworm include:
- Ring-shaped scaly patches
- Lesions that are red with a clear center
- Itching and pain
In addition to ringworm, yeast infections can occur in various parts of the body due to an overgrowth of Candida. Yeast infections in the diaper area are unfortunately a common occurrence for many infants. Similarly, oral thrush is a common infection caused by an overgrowth of yeast in the mouth and on the tongue.
Treatment of Fungal Infections in Kids
Treatment of ringworm, yeast infections, and other skin infections can include:
- Oral antifungal medications
- Antifungal shampoo
- Steroids (to reduce swelling in kerion lesions)
- Topical antifungal creams, sprays, or gels
Treatment of thrush typically consists of an oral antifungal medication that may come in the form of a lozenge, tablet, or liquid. Mothers of breastfeeding infants with an active oral thrush infection may require the use of topical cream on the breasts as well to avoid passing the infection back and forth.