Preventing Candidiasis

Key points

  • Only take antibiotics or corticosteroids as prescribed by a healthcare provider and take them exactly as directed.
  • Wearing cotton underwear can help prevent vaginal candidiasis (yeast infections).
  • Good oral health helps prevent candidiasis in the mouth, throat, and esophagus.
  • Antifungal medications and infection control practices help prevent invasive candidiasis.
A healthcare worker washing hands with soap

Prevention tips

Vaginal candidiasis (yeast infections)

Many women will get vaginal candidiasis at some point in their lives. There are some ways to reduce the risk, such as:

  • Wear cotton underwear.
  • Wear breathable clothing (not too tight).
  • Keep the area clean and dry.
Cartoon depiction of a person's lower body, wearing a white cotton underwear.
Wearing cotton underwear can reduce the risk of vaginal candidiasis.

Candidiasis of the mouth or throat (thrush)

Ways to help prevent candidiasis in the mouth and throat include:

  • Maintain good oral health.
  • Rinse your mouth or brush your teeth after using inhaled corticosteroids.

Risk from medications‎

Antibiotics and corticosteroids are often necessary to treat infections. But they also can increase the risk of candidiasis. It is important to use medications exactly as directed by your healthcare provider and tell them if you start to develop symptoms.

Invasive candidiasis prevention

Invasive candidiasis tends to occur among hospitalized patients.

A sick patient in a hospital
Hospitalized patients are at a higher risk of candidiasis

Healthcare providers may prescribe antifungal medications to help protect some patients from developing invasive candidiasis (i.e. antifungal prophylaxis). This is often recommended for:

  • Some organ transplant patients
  • Certain patients in the intensive care unit (ICU)
  • Patients who are on certain types of chemotherapy or have low white blood cell counts (neutropenia)
  • Patients who have a stem cell or bone marrow transplant and have low white blood cell counts (neutropenia)
  • Some doctors may also consider giving antifungal prophylaxis to very low birth weight infants (less than 2.2 pounds) in nurseries with high rates of invasive candidiasis.

Patients and families can take some steps to help prevent invasive candidiasis. Patients and families can:

Healthcare providers can follow CDC-recommended infection control practices every time they work with a central line. For more prevention information, please visit CDC's Healthcare-Associated Infections website.