THRUSH (Oral Thrush)
THRUSH (Oral Thrush)
DESCRIPTIONThrush is a common fungus infection of the mouth. The mouth, gums, tongue, soft palate, cheeks, and lips are involved. Thrush can affect newborns and infants, but it may also affect older children and adults.
Appropriate health care includes:
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications, if self-care is not successful.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSPatches are white to creamy yellow and slightly raised. They are similar to milk curds, but they don't wipe off.
Patches are not painful to the child unless they are rubbed off. Then they leave small, painful ulcers.
The child's mouth is dry.
Patches appear in the child's mouth with the following characteristics:
CAUSESTreatment with antibiotics. This may upset the natural balance of organisms in the child's mouth and allow thrush to develop.
Birth. Newborns may acquire the infection during passage through the birth canal--especially if the mother has a vaginal yeast infection. Thrush appears within hours or up to 7 days after birth.
A fungus called candida albicans, which may develop under the following circumstances:
RISK FACTORSPoor nutrition.
Illness that has lowered resistance.
Use of immunosuppressive drugs.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCEIf your child has had thrush and must take antibiotics, urge the child to drink buttermilk or eat yogurt during treatment to replenish helpful bacteria in the digestive tract.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSCan spread to the child's 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 your child's eating utensils or use disposable items. Boil anything that touches the child's mouth or saliva.
Your child should rinse the mouth with a salt solution (1/2 teaspoon salt to 8 ounces 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.
MEDICATIONGently swab patches of thrush in the child's mouth with antiseptic mouthwash or non-prescription 1% gentian-violet solution.
If these simple medicines don't cure your child's infection, your doctor may prescribe an anti-fungal drug, nystatin, to apply to the patches.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
DIET & FLUIDS
No changes in infants. Older children and adults should maintain an adequate fluid intake with milk, liquid gelatin, ice cream, custard, water, tea, or other beverages and foods that are easy to swallow. Let the child use a straw for drinking if the patches are painful.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?When signs of infection have decreased, appetite returns, and alertness, strength, and feeling of well-being will allow.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Signs of dehydration (sunken eyes, poor elasticity of the skin, and lethargy) appear in your child.
An infant fails to gain weight, or an unexplained weight loss occurs in an older child.
Lesions on the child's skin or vagina appear.
Signs of secondary bacterial infection (pain, redness, tenderness, swelling, sometimes fever) appear in the child's mouth.