Fungal infections

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More than 200,000 US cases per year

  • Requires medical diagnosis
  • Symptoms: Rashes
  • Color: Typically red
  • Location: In the mouth, underneath the diaper (for children), genital area, under breasts, buttocks, skin folds
  • Treatment: Topical creams, prescription medication

Candida albicans is a yeast that many people normally carry without having any discomfort. However, if the immune system deteriorates, or if the normal bacterial flora is disturbed, the fungus can proliferate and cause problems. The risk of fungal infections is higher in infants, pregnant women and the elderly.

Symptoms of Fungal Infections

In moist folds of skin in small children, yeast fungi (candida) can begin to grow and turn into a red, oozing rash. The fungal infection thrives between the buttocks, underneath the diaper. Candida infection in the mouth called the cod in small children. The rash is glaring red, often with little “dents” on the edges. Fungal infections can easily develop if the child recently has been treated with antibiotics.

Even adults can get fungal infection in the mouth. For example, you can get fungal infection if you do not wash your mouth after using cortisone spray or if you have dentures. For women, it is common fungal infection of the vagina. Most people will at some time in life experience such an infection.

For adults, fungal infections give a red rash under breasts, buttocks, groin and skin folds. In the mouth, fungal infection can result in white coatings ands spots on the tongue and insides of cheeks, appears as red irritated and possibly simultaneously burning mucosa on removable dentures, or cracks and irritation in the corners of the mouth.

Fungal infections with candida can cause discomfort on the skin, mouth, and vagina. For specific information:

  • Oral candidiasis
  • Vaginitis
  • Yeast infection
  • Tinea corporis (ringworm)

What can I do?

It is difficult to protect against fungal infections because yeast is so common. You can prevent infection by keeping skin folds, for example, the neck, groin, under the breasts and arms clean and dry.

Should I seek medical care?

A fungal infection is easy to confuse with an eczema or a rash – have a doctor look at the symptoms if they do not subside. Sometimes you need to take scraping samples from the baby’s skin to check for microscopic fungal threads.
Contact your healthcare provider if the affected area remains the same after treatment, if you suspect that you have a fungal infection in your mouth or if you have impaired immune function and signs of a fungal infection.

Treatment for Fungal Infections

The best way to prevent and fight fungal infections in infants is to air the skin’s many folds that are collecting dampness. If there is no improvement, the damaged skin may need treatment with a cream or ointment containing fungicide. Older children may experience a different kind of fungus, ringworm, on any part of the body. It is a rash caused by the so-called filamentous fungi that provide ring-shaped, erythematous patches on the skin. Ringworm, and also fungus on the scalp, need to be treated with prescription drugs. (Note that the circular / ring-shaped rash may also be signs of tick infection – Lyme disease – which needs to be treated).


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fungal Diseases. Available at:

U.S. National Library of Medicine. Fungal Infections. Available at:

American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. Fungus Infections: Preventing Recurrence.

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