Thrush is a form of yeast infection which mostly affects infants. There are several causes of thrush in babies. This article provides some information about this condition, its symptoms, causes, and treatment that might prove beneficial.
Thrush is the most common type of yeast infection in babies which affects 1 out of 7 babies. Mostly, babies of age 2 months or below are susceptible to this type of infection. It is a fungal infection, caused by a particular yeast species called Candida Albicans. In most cases, thrush subsides within 2 weeks of infection, if not treated. The only problem with thrush is that it keeps on passing between the mother and the baby. Hence, it is imperative that both should be treated simultaneously.
There are a variety of causes why this condition occurs in infants. Some infants get the infection while they travel through the birth canal during childbirth. This is prevalent when the mother has a vaginal yeast infection. Normally, it is common to have a small amount of yeast in the human digestive system, however, it only poses a problem when the amount of yeast increases too much. This particularly happens when, either the child or the mother is on antibiotic treatment. Antibiotics kill the ‘good’ bacteria which destroy the yeast. Yet another reason for thrush is the immature immune system of babies, which is too weak to resist the yeast infection.
There are no major symptoms in babies except for the white thrush in the mouth. One would observe a white milk scum like substance in a baby’s mouth, inside the cheeks, tongue, gum, palate, etc. However, unlike the milk scum, this substance won’t come off easily when one rubs it. When one does, one would notice a red, inflamed area underneath, which may bleed. The other symptoms which may or may not appear include, baby’s fussing, especially while nursing. Sometimes, the sore mouth may be painful for the baby, and she/he may not suck properly. If the baby cries too much while feeding, one should start looking for the traces of thrush.
Mostly, this condition does not require any treatment as it rarely bothers the baby. However, if the baby becomes too fussy and refuses to get nursed, then medical intervention may become necessary. A pediatrician may prescribe an antifungal oral medication, which one would have to apply on the white patches, inside the mouth of the baby. Accordingly, the mother can also get herself treated, so as to prevent passing the infection to the baby. One can also treat the infection at home by wiping the inside of the mouth of the baby with a sterilized absorbent cotton. Boil an ounce of water and let it cool. Give this water to the baby after every feeding session, so as to flush the yeast residue from the babies mouth. Yeast reproduces every 3 hours and the wet, sweet mouth of the baby is very conducive for its growth. Hence, repeat the procedure at regular intervals.
This condition in infants can be easily prevented with the help of proper care and precautions. Here are a few steps that will help one prevent it:
- Mothers should get themselves treated for vaginal yeast infection at least 3 months prior to the delivery.
- Always clean the nipples with water and let them air dry every time, after breastfeeding.
- Do not let anyone put hands in the babies mouth.
- Always sterilize the pacifier and bottle nipples.
- Execute extreme hygiene measures while dealing with anything that comes in direct contact with the babies mouth.
Thrush in babies is not a difficult problem to deal with. One need not worry too much about this condition as it is likely to subside on its own. And once the baby grows up, he/she will never have to put up with it again.