Skin Conditions Diaper Rash

Almost all babies get diaper rash at some point in the first years of their lives. With the moisture of urine and the rubbing of a diaper against the skin, diaper rash is almost inevitable. While many people think only wet diapers can cause diaper rash, the irritation that leads to the rash can be caused by any of the following:

  • baby wipes
  • diapers that are left on too long
  • diapers that fit too tightly
  • diapers that rub against the skin
  • soap used to wash cloth diapers.

A diaper area that is damaged by a rash is particularly susceptible to a bacterial or yeast infection. Thus, it is extremely important to treat diaper rash as soon as your notice it on your infant.

Symptoms of Diaper Rash

Diaper rash is located on the skin that is covered by the diaper, including the buttocks and the genitals. It may or may not be inside the folds of the skin. In some cases, the rash can extend to the thighs, stomach and abdomen.

Diaper rash often looks like a rash of tiny red spots, however, it can form larger red patches with clear edges. The affected area can be quite painful and may look shiny.

Treatment for Diaper Rash

If diaper rash does flare-up, the best way to treat it is to keep the diaper area clean, cool and dry. Here are some steps you can take to ease your little one’s discomfort:

  1. First, wash off the diaper area with plain water. Don’t use diaper wipes and don’t wipe over the sore areas. Try using a bulb syringe to gently rinse the sore spots. Gently blot the area dry.
  2. Next, you should simply wait. Let your child’s bottom air out for a while without a diaper or diaper cream. You can either lay your baby on a waterproof surface, a towel or just go outside to prevent any accidents in the house.Drying out the rash is the most important part of healing. Let the diaper area air out as often and as long as possible for quick healing.
  3. Finally, use a diaper cream to keep moisture from reaching the baby’s skin when he urinates. Use a lot of cream and be sure to cover the entire diaper area.

Diaper Rash Treatment Warnings

Carefully check the label on your diaper cream. Avoid using diaper cream that contains:

  • benzoin tincture
  • boric acid
  • camphor
  • methyl salicylate
  • phenol.

These chemicals can harm your baby.

Don’t use talcum powder or cornstarch to keep baby’s diaper area dry. Talcum powder can get in your baby’s lungs, and cornstarch can make a yeast infection worse.

Choosing Cloth or Disposable Diapers

One debate concerning diapers has been whether cloth diapers are better for the baby than disposable diapers. Disposable diapers are believed to be more absorbent than cloth diapers, but some of the chemicals used in disposable diapers may cause an allergic reaction.

Ultimately, the choice is up to you. Whether you use cloth or disposable diapers, the best thing you can do to prevent diaper rash is to change diapers frequently.

When to Call the Doctor for Infant Rash

Your child’s diaper rash should clear up within a week. If it doesn’t get better after a week of home treatment, it’s time to call a doctor. You should also call your doctor if you notice any of the following:

  • diaper rash in the first six weeks of life
  • fever
  • large bumps or nodules on the baby
  • loss of appetite
  • small ulcers or pimples
  • the rash spreads to the arms, face, scalp or other areas
  • weight loss.

Resources

AskDr.Sears.com (2006). Childhood Illnesses: Diaper Rash. Retrieved Sept. 7, 2007, from the AskDr.Sears.com Web site: http://www.askdrsears.com/html/8/T081400.asp.

American Academy of Physicians (1996). Diaper Rash: Tips on Prevention and Treatment. Retrieved Sept. 7, 2007, from the FamilyDoctor.org Web site: http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/children/parents/infants/051.html.