Candida is a type of fungus that is common in the body of normal healthy people. Most babies acquire Candida soon after birth. They might develop a mild infection in the mouth called “thrush” that looks like white plaques on the tongue, palate, and inside the cheeks. Candida is usually kept under control by the good bacteria in the body and by a healthy immune system. Patients with low blood counts are at risk for a Candida infection. Their low blood counts can be the result of their disease or its treatments, such as stem cell transplants and chemotherapy (cancer-fighting drugs). Use of antibiotics may also increase the risk of a Candida infection. By killing both good and bad bacteria, antibiotics can disrupt the body’s natural balance of good bacteria so that Candida grows more easily.
The best way to prevent infection is hand washing, especially before caring for central venous catheters (IV lines that have been surgically placed in the chest area). It is important to keep the skin, mouth tissues, and diaper areas clean and dry. Rashes and mouth sores may increase your child’s risk for Candida infections in blood or other body organs.
An infection can develop in almost any part of the body. The first sign of a serious fungal infection is usually a fever that does not go away when the patient takes antibiotics. Your child’s doctor will start therapy with an antifungal drug if needed.
If you have more questions about fungal infections, please talk to your child’s doctor or nurse.
This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.
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