Oral thrush is a condition which affects the mouth. A fungus known as Candida albicans accumulates on the lining of the mouth. Although the condition can affect anyone, people who wear dentures, who have a compromised immune system, who are into inhaling corticosteroids, and babies are the ones who are commonly affected by this condition. The ailment is of a little concern for people who are healthy. But not for those who are ailing with some other conditions. For them, the symptoms of oral thrush become severe and go out of control.
Can it Pass From One Person to Another?
Before getting to the answer, it is to be known that Candida albicans are a normal inhabitant of the body, including the mouth. Meaning, they are a part of the body microflora, and are present in a small number. So, they are easily controlled by the body. However, upon kissing someone who is already ailing from oral thrush, there is a possibility that you might be increasing the number of candida albicans you already have. The level might get increased so much so that your body becomes unable to handle them, and as a result, symptoms begin to appear.
So, technically oral thrush is not contagious. Merely kissing anyone does not give you the thrush. It is just the increase in fungi in your mouth which might make the difference between you contracting the illness, or not.
During the first few days, there might be no noticeable symptoms. However, there might be sudden outbursts, and the symptoms tend to stay for a long time. Prominent symptoms include lesions, which develop on the tongue and inner cheeks. These lesions are white and creamy in color, and may also appear on the roof of the mouth, gum, and tonsils. Also, these lesions may bear the appearance of cottage cheese. The lesions may be painful and might bleed if rubbed or scraped. The corners of the mouth may appear cracked, and there might be a feeling of cotton being stuffed in the mouth. Loss of taste is also a common symptom of this infection. In cases which take on a severe form, the lesions may spread into the esophagus, and this might make it difficult to swallow food.
Infants may also pass the infection to their mothers while breastfeeding. Symptoms which a nursing mother may experience include red, sensitive, and itchy nipples accompanied by shiny or flaky skin on the areola. Nipples might be painful during feeding and mothers might experience stabbing pain, deep within the breasts.
Causes and Treatment
The condition develops as a result of weakened-immune system or an imbalance of 'good' and 'bad' microbes. Medical conditions which might make one more susceptible to this fungal infection include HIV/AIDS, cancer, diabetes, and vaginal-yeast infections.
The treatment focuses on preventing the spread of the fungus. It also depends upon the age, overall health of the person, and underlying cause. For healthy individuals, the consumption of yogurt (unsweetened), or taking acidophilus capsules or liquid may be advised. Mothers and infants who may be at a risk of developing the infection, will be treated so as to prevent the spread of the disease back and forth. Babies may be prescribed with mild antifungal medication and mothers with antifungal creams to be applied to their breasts. For people with a compromised weakened system, different forms of antifungal medications may be recommended.
Knowing about the symptoms of oral thrush and addressing them on the right time, can provide a great deal of help in treating the disease before it gets way too worse.
Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.