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Guide to 5 Common Infant Infections

Every mom naturally frets when her little guy or gal suddenly sports a bumpy red rash or develops a worrisome temperature in the middle of the night. The early years bring on a number of skin woes, fevers, sniffles, and coughs, and there's often not much you can do to avoid them, besides being vigilant about hand washing and good hygiene. Thankfully, they're often short-lived and mild. You'll want to consult your pediatrician, but treatment, for the most part, is pretty simple, as well. "The best care for most of these illnesses is often just supportive -- fever medication, extra fluids, and a little more rocking and snuggling," explains Jennifer Trachtenberg, M.D., New York City author of The Smart Parent's Guide to Getting Your Kids Through Checkups, Illnesses and Accidents.

Thrush

What it is A yeast infection in and around your baby's mouth. Yeast occurs naturally and is usually harmless, but an overgrowth can cause an infection.

How it's transmitted Kissing, hugging, nursing, and bathing can pass yeast from mom to baby. It can also travel via bottles and pacifiers.

Symptoms Thick white patches that form on the gums, inner cheeks, tongue, and roof of the mouth. Feedings may be painful for your baby.

Treatment Your baby may need oral antifungal medication; an antifungal skin cream can be used on mom's nipples. Wash feeding equipment extra well; if the infection persists, consider tossing bottle nipples and pacifiers.

Yeast Diaper Infection

What it is This rash is also caused by the yeast in your baby's system.

How it's transmitted A wet diaper is a warm, moist place for fungus to grow. It can also travel from the baby's mouth down through the GI tract and then out with the stool.

Symptoms A garden-variety diaper rash will be a bit red and irritated, while a yeast infection is a lot angrier-looking, with shiny red, pustule-like bumps (though they aren't liquid-filled) that cluster in the groin area or skin folds. This rash may be tender to the touch, so expect some squirming on the changing table.

Treatment An antifungal cream, such as nystatin, will clear up a mild yeast infection.

Get more info on common baby rashes in our Rashes Health Guide

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