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A common fungus infection of the mouth appearing as curdy white membrane on the tongue,
lips, gums or inside of the cheeks.
Newborns and infants, but may also affect older children.
Patches appear in the mouth with the following characteristics:
- White to creamy yellow and slightly raised; they are similar
to curds, but can't be wiped off.
- Patches are not painful unless they are rubbed off. Then
they leave small, painful ulcers.
- The mouth is dry.
The causative fungus is called candida albicans, which a person may acquire under the
- Treatment with antibiotics- this may upset the natural
balance of organisms in the mouth and allow thrush to develop. This is why B complex is
always given with antibiotics.
- Birth- Newborns may acquire the infection during passage
through the birth canal--especially if the mother has a vaginal fungal infection. Thrush
appears within hours or up to 7 days after birth.
- Poor nutrition.
- Illness that has lowered resistance.
- Use of drugs that suppress immunity.
If you must give antibiotics to your child, ensure buttermilk or yogurt during treatment
to replenish helpful bacteria in the digestive tract.
- Observation of symptoms.
- Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
Rarely spreads to vagina, skin, larynx, gastrointestinal tract or respiratory system.
Treatment usually clears this infection in 3 days. It is not dangerous or serious, but it
has a tendency to recur.
- To avoid transmitting thrush to others, boil eating
utensils. Boil anything that touches the mouth or saliva.
- Rinse the mouth with a salt solution (1/2-teaspoon salt to
250 cc water) 3 times a day or more after eating.
- If an infant has the infection, boil bottle nipples
separately for 20 minutes before the final sterilization.
- Gently swab patches of thrush in the mouth with antiseptic
mouthwash or non-prescription 1% gentian-violet solution.
- If these simple medicines don't cure the infection, your
doctor may prescribe an antifungal drug to apply to the patches.
No changes in infants. Older children should maintain an adequate fluid intake with milk,
ice cream, custard, water, tea or other beverages and foods that are easy to swallow. Give
a straw for drinking if the patches are painful.
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- Signs of dehydration (sunken
eyes, poor elasticity of the skin and lethargy).
- An infant fails to gain weight or an unexplained weight
- Lesions on the skin or vagina.
- Signs of secondary bacterial infection (pain, redness,
tenderness, swelling, and sometimes fever) appear in the mouth.