Babies are adorable and fragile. Until they are 4 to 6 months old, they cannot hold their head upright.
Their neck muscles develop slowly and until they learn to move their neck, they are susceptible to rashes and infections on their neck. A baby’s neck has several skin folds that can trap yeast. Because their bodies are warm, they provide the perfect living conditions for the yeast.
Yeast infections, if left untreated can grow and become irritating for the baby. Fortunately, most yeast infections that occur on a baby’s neck are treatable. Yeast infections go away on their own when the baby’s neck receives air and is cleaned. However, in some cases, they need to be treated.
If your baby has a neck yeast infection, read on to find out when you should see a pediatrician.
What is a Yeast Infection?
Yeast refers to the fungus that can grow on human skin usually around the mouth, gut, and genital areas. When the yeast overgrows and starts spreading, you might start to notice redness, blotchiness, and dull flaky skin. The yeast infection is caused by Candida that also causes diaper rashes, groin rashes, and vaginal rashes. Because babies have a developing immune system, they and sensitive skin, yeast infections are common in babies.
Symptoms of a Yeast Infection on Baby’s Neck
To ascertain that your baby has a yeast infection, wipe their neck gently with a damp cloth. Check if the baby’s neck shows:
- Redness or pink moist patches
- Red lines along the skin folds
- Raised edges with redness
- Tiny red bumps
- Discolored patches
- Grey or white flaky skin
- Swelling and red sores
What Causes Yeast Infections on Baby’s Neck?
A warm and moist environment and season cause yeast infections on the baby’s neck. When the baby drools and spits up on their neck, it causes bacteria to grow on the neck. If the neck infection is due to drooling, the infection can also spread across the lips, on the chin, and below their faces.
Yeast grows in spaces that receive less oxygen, are wet and warm. Sometimes, the clothing, blankets, and other materials that come into contact with the baby’s skin can also cause sores and irritation. Some yeast infections can also contain pus and liquid that may ooze out on applying pressure.
How to Treat Yeast Infections?
As the baby starts lifting the head more often, the yeast infection goes away on its own. When the skinfolds decrease, the yeast infections start to heal. The pediatricians check for yeast infection on a baby’s neck by examining the area carefully. They gently wipe it with a cotton swab to get a feel of the skin.
Depending on the type of infection, the doctor may prescribe an anti-fungal skin medication. Babies older than 4 weeks are allowed to receive anti-fungal skin treatment. The topical creams and sprays are designed to be gentle on the newborn’s skin. If the fungal infection is severe or also causing rashes inside the baby’s mouth or tongue, the doctor may prescribe an oral medication as well.
Yeast allergies can be painful and uncomfortable for your baby. But with the right treatment, they can go away within 2 weeks. If the yeast infection does not go away after 2 weeks or reoccurs, visit your child’s healthcare provider.
Reasons for Neck Rashes Other than Yeast Infections
Yeast infections are very similar to bacterial infections so it can be extremely difficult to tell which one your baby has on your own. However, yeast infections tend to be a little different than all the other rashes because they don’t go away easily with regular baby rash creams and care. The bacterial infection can look like a red sore on the baby’s neck.
With so many skin folds, the sore can feel like a regular rash. The infection causes severe itching and dryness in some areas which can make the baby uncomfortable. Because babies are unable to express themselves, they’ll probably cry more often.
How to Prevent Yeast Infections on Baby’s Neck
If your baby has recovered from a skin infection, you must follow best practices to avoid a skin infection in the future. To reduce the overall risk of a yeast infection, here are some tips, you need to keep in mind:
Straightening the baby’s neck: Straightening the baby’s neck is important because the skin folds on the baby’s neck make the yeast infection worse. Lay your baby flat on their back and let them straighten the neck. Similarly, turn them on their back to straighten out the neck muscles on the other side.
No sleeping vertically: Sleeping in a slouching position while someone’s carrying the baby or the baby is in a car seat can lead to more skin folds on the neck. Whenever your baby falls asleep, lay them on their back.
Avoid Tight Clothing: Tight clothing and rough fabrics can also lead to yeast infections as they can make the baby sweat and have skinfolds on their neck.
Remove Baby’s Clothing: Dress your baby in fewer clothes when you are home. This helps keep the baby’s skin dry and comfortable, hence limiting the exposure to bacteria or germs sticking to the neck.
Sterilize Baby’s Pacifiers and Bottles: Clean your baby’s toys, teether, feeder nipples, and pacifier in boiling water to get rid of germs.
Anti-bacterial and Anti-fungal Soaps: A baby’s skin is delicate, so you should always choose a baby soap that helps you get rid of germs while taking care of the baby’s skin. Apply moisturizer soon after the use of soap, because even the anti-bacterial baby soaps can be harsh for the baby’s skin.
Avoid Kissing and Touching: Everyone around babies wants to touch them and kiss them but this can be dangerous for the baby’s skin. Humans have bacteria and viruses on their skin, that may not affect them but affect a baby with a new and developing immune system.
Make sure that you ask people to wash their hands before they touch the baby and avoid kissing them especially when they have a cough or skin infection.