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Your Child's Health, Our Priority, Always

Tiny Troubles: Common Fungal Infections in Pediatric Care

As parents, we often encounter various challenges when it comes to ensuring our children’s health and well-being. While some issues are easily noticeable, others may lurk beneath the surface, causing discomfort and concern. Fungal infections are among the stealthy adversaries that can affect children, causing discomfort and sometimes even embarrassment. Let us shed light on some of the common fungal infections seen in pediatric care:


Tinea Pedis (Athlete’s Foot)

Tinea pedis, commonly known as athlete’s foot, is a fungal infection that affects the feet, particularly between the toes. It can cause itching, redness, and peeling of the skin. Children who frequently wear tight shoes or spend time in damp environments, such as swimming pools or locker rooms, are more susceptible to this infection.


Tinea Versicolor

Tinea versicolor is a superficial fungal infection that affects the skin, causing patches of lighter or darker skin discoloration. These patches may be more noticeable after sun exposure. While it is not contagious, tinea versicolor can be bothersome for children, especially during warmer months when the patches become more prominent.


Ringworm (Tinea Corporis)

Despite its name, ringworm is not caused by a worm but by a fungus. It typically appears as a red or silver rash with raised edges, forming a ring-like pattern on the skin. Ringworms can affect various parts of the body, including the scalp (tinea capitis), body (tinea corporis), and groin area (tinea cruris). Direct contact with an infected person or contaminated surfaces can spread the infection.


Tinea Capitis (Scalp Ringworm)

Tinea capitis is a fungal infection of the scalp and hair follicles. It often presents round, scaly patches of hair loss with broken-off hairs, accompanied by itching and inflammation. Tinea capitis is more common in school-aged children and can spread through direct contact or sharing contaminated items like combs or hats.


Onychomycosis (Nail Fungus)

Onychomycosis is a fungal infection of the nails, typically affecting toenails more often than fingernails. Infected nails may become thickened, discolored, and brittle. While less common in children than in adults, onychomycosis can still occur, especially in those who frequently engage in activities that expose their feet to warm, moist environments, such as swimming or sports.


Candidiasis (Yeast Infection)

Candidiasis is a fungal infection caused by yeast of the Candida species, most commonly Candida albicans. In children, it can manifest as oral thrush, characterized by white patches on the tongue and inside the mouth, or diaper rash, causing redness and irritation in the diaper area. Candidiasis thrives in warm, moist environments, making infants and toddlers particularly susceptible.


Diaper Dermatitis (Diaper Rash)

While not always caused by fungi, diaper dermatitis, or diaper rash, can sometimes be exacerbated by fungal infections, particularly candidiasis. It presents red, irritated skin in the diaper area and can be uncomfortable for infants and toddlers. Proper hygiene and keeping the diaper area clean and dry are essential for prevention and treatment.


Prevention and Treatment

Preventing fungal infections in children involves practicing good hygiene and avoiding factors that promote fungal growth, such as wearing damp clothing for extended periods and sharing personal items with others. Treatment typically involves antifungal medications, which may be applied topically or taken orally, depending on the severity of the infection. While fungal infections may seem like minor nuisances, they can cause discomfort and affect children’s quality of life if left untreated. Recognizing the symptoms and seeking prompt medical attention can help alleviate symptoms and prevent the spread of infection to others.

If you have questions about your child please contact our board-certified pediatricians by booking a telemedicine appointment, calling 855-576-8745, or using our chat feature on the homepage.