- why ?
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Posted by Laura on July 11, 2014
A popular question for any user of cloth diapers, not just for Lil Helper is: How do you clean cloth diapers which have come into contact with thrush or more commonly known as yeast infection?
First things first.
Thrush’s $50 name is actually candidiasis, a fungal infection of Candida- a type of yeast. Some of you may know this better as a yeast infection, while others use the term “thrush.”
However you say it, candidiasis spells bad news for cloth diapers and, of course, the baby who wears them.
Photo of Esophageal candidiasis By KGH (Personal collection of histopathologic slides) courtesy of Wiki Commons
Thrush often occurs after your baby or you, a breast-feeding mother, finished a round of antibiotics.
While the antibiotics will do their job of killing off other problem bacteria, perhaps an infection, it will also take down the good bacteria which keeps your body’s naturally occurring thrush-killers strong.
Without candidiasis’s natural predators in place, thrush or yeast, thrives and voila! sinus infection cured but now you and your breast-fed baby have a yeast infection.
You know you are dealing with thrush when there is a bum or groin rash which is raised, beefy looking, and could even have some open sores.
For oral thrush, you will see white pasty splotches on your baby’s tongue or other parts of your baby’s mouth which, when rubbed, may turn red and bleed.
If your baby has thrush in the mouth you can bet your baby’s bum it will be there too!
Thrush can occur orally, vaginally, on nipples, finger and toenails, and frankly any skin surface.
And as you may know: fungi love warm and moist creased places like little your baby bottoms, mouths & vaginas.
This fungi may be living on your diapers and inserts before you see any evidence of it on you or your baby.
And it may well still be there after rash is gone the first time, thus infecting your baby again. So cleaning those diapers effectively is critical!
If none of the above helps your situation then I strongly suggest using a topical anti-fungal treatment like Canesten cream or Monistat cream on the affected areas.
As always: If you are uncertain of the origin or nature of a rash, consult your doctor (and by that I don’t mean just Dr. Google).
If your child has oral thrush, your doctor may give you a prescription for Gentian Violet (in many places, a prescription is not required), which will kill the thrush but can ruin clothing and dye your child’s face bright violet! Gentian Violet can cause irritation in skin folds and (rarely) allergic reactions.
Please consult a medical professional for more information before using Gentian Violet for the first time.
Best wishes on your battle with Thrush!!
PS: Despite popular mythology, chlorine bleach does NOT kill everything. And in particular, bleach will NOT kill Thrush except in high concentrations. Spores are mighty hard to take down!
Feature photo courtesy of By KGH (Personal collection of histopathologic slides) [GFDL ( http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons: Wiki Commons