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Causes of Nail Fungus in Infants

Causes of Nail Fungus in Infants
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Infants unfortunately learn through touch, which means the unavoidable touching of some surfaces that have fungus. Nail fungus is easy to contract, particularly prevalent during the summer months as fungus thrives on warm, moist surfaces. Additionally, the nails of infants have are soft and may be slightly separated from the nail bed, leaving them particularly vulnerable to the development of nail fungus.

Weak Immune System

An infant’s immune system is not fully developed at the time of birth, which makes a baby more susceptible to illness than adults. Though infants receive sufficient antibodies from the mother’s womb to help ward off germs, they may not be able to fight off fungal infections. According to GentleBirth.org, children are vulnerable to infection for the first month and a half of their lives. Fungi that live in showers or on surfaces where parents bathe the infant can infect the finger or toenails.

Warm Environment

Parents usually place infants in warm environments to keep them comfortable. This warm environment can also prove to be a great place for bacteria and fungi to dwell. Infants enjoy the sensation of sucking on their fingers and toes, which also provides a moist environment for nail fungus to thrive. According to the Mayoclinic.com, nail fungus dwells on the skin; however, it only creates symptoms when it is in a warm moist environment for long periods of time. Though parents may work hard to keep infants dry, they may overlook moisture from the infant's saliva on his hands and feet, which makes it possible for fungus to grow and thrive on the nails.

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Yeast Infection

Infants are more prone to yeast infections that may affect the nail due to an infant's constant contact with moisture. Yeast infections like thrush, which is a yeast overgrowth in the mouth, may also travel to the nails when the baby sucks on her fingers and toes. MedlinePlus notes that nail fungus can be cured by new nail growth, which means that nail fungus can disappear as a new nail grows. An infant's soft nails are eventually replaced with new hardened nail tissue.

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