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Diaper Rash, Candida (Infant/Toddler)

Candida is type of yeast. It grows best in warm, moist areas. It is common for Candida to grow in the skin folds under a child’s diaper. When there is an overgrowth of Candida, it can cause a rash called a Candida diaper rash.

The entire area under the diaper may be bright red. The borders of the rash may be raised. There may be smaller patches that blend in with the larger rash. The rash may have small bumps and pimples filled with pus. The scrotum in boys may be very red and scaly. The area will itch and cause the child to be fussy.

Candida diaper rash is most often treated with over-the-counter antifungal cream or ointment. The rash should clear a few days 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

Medicines

Your child’s healthcare provider will recommend an antifungal cream or ointment for the diaper rash. He or she may also prescribe a medicine to help relieve itching. Follow all instructions for giving these medicines to your child. Apply a thick layer of cream or ointment on the rash. It can be left on the skin between diaper changes. You can apply more cream or ointment on top, if the area is clean.

General care

Follow these tips when caring for your child:

  • Be sure to wash your hands well with soap and warm water before and after changing your child’s diaper and applying any medicine.

  • Check for soiled diapers regularly. Change your child’s diaper as soon as you notice it is soiled. Gently pat the area clean with a warm, wet soft cloth. If you use soap, it should be gentle and scent-free. Topical barriers such as zinc oxide paste or petroleum jelly can be liberally applied to help prevent urine and stool contact with the skin.

  • Change your child’s diaper at least once at night. Put the diaper on loosely. 

  • 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. Note: Disposable diapers may be preferred until the rash has healed.

  • Allow your child to go without a diaper for periods of time. Exposing the skin to air will help it to heal.

  • Don’t overclean the affected skin areas. This can irritate the skin further. Also don’t apply powders such as talc or cornstarch to the affected skin areas. Talc can be harmful to a child’s lungs. Cornstarch can cause the Candida infection to get worse.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your child’s healthcare provider, or as directed.

When to seek medical advice

Unless your child's healthcare provider advises otherwise, call the provider right away if:

  • Your child is 3 months old or younger and has a fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher. (Seek treatment right away. Fever in a young baby can be a sign of a serious infection.)

  • Your child is younger than 2 years of age and has a fever of 100.4°F (38°C) that lasts for more than 1 day.

  • Your child is 2 years old or older and has a fever of 100.4°F (38°C) that continues for more than 3 days.

  • Your child is of any age and has repeated fevers above 104°F (40°C).

Also call the provider right away if:

  • Your child is fussier than normal or keeps crying and can't be soothed.

  • Your child’s symptoms worsen, or they don’t get better with treatment.

  • Your child develops new symptoms such as blisters, open sores, raw skin, or bleeding.

  • Your child has unusual or foul-smelling drainage in the affected skin areas.

 

 
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