What is thrush?
Thrush is an infection of the mouth caused by a yeast called candida.
Thrush occurs frequently in babies less than one month old, in the elderly and in groups of people with weak immune systems. It is not very common in older children, adolescents or adults who are otherwise healthy.
What are the symptoms of thrush?
Symptoms of thrush include a whitish-grey coating on the tongue and the inside of the gums and cheeks. It can also cause redness or soreness in the affected areas, difficulty swallowing or cracking in the corners of the mouth.
In infants it often looks like milk on the tongue and cheeks. You cannot wipe the white off with a cotton swab and infants can have difficulty feeding.
You should see a health care provider if you have symptoms of thrush.
How is thrush spread?
Candida is normally found in the mouth, throat and other parts of the body in small amounts. Certain medications or health conditions that weaken the immune system can cause the candida to grow, which may cause symptoms of infection.
It can be passed on from mother to baby during childbirth.
It usually takes 2 to 5 days to start showing symptoms of thrush after being exposed.
How is thrush treated?
For thrush, an oral liquid can be prescribed.
When a mother is breastfeeding, both the mother and the infant must be treated. Mothers can continue to breastfeed unless told otherwise by a health care provider.
You can treat mild symptoms at home.
How is thrush prevented?
It is recommended to wash and boil all items (for example, toys, pacifiers, bottle nipples, teethers) that come in contact with the baby’s mouth at least once a day. Items should be washed in hot, soapy water; rinsed; boiled for 10 minutes; and allowed to air dry.
Pacifiers, bottle nipples, and teethers should be discarded and replaced with new ones after one week of treatment has been completed.
Simple preventative measures can reduce the spread of infection