Diaper rash is a generic term applied to skin rashes in the diaper area.
Diaper rash is usually caused by irritation of a baby's skin that is exposed to urine, bowel movements, diaper irritants and infections.
Diaper rash will usually increase between 7 and 9 months when a more varied diet can cause more irritating stools. (This is the period when your baby is trying different foods.) Your baby may also develop a diaper rash after taking antibiotics. This kind of diaper rash may be caused by a yeast infection and will not get better without medicated ointment your child's doctor can prescribe. Rarely diaper irritants can cause a rash that may heal if a different brand of diaper is used.
The best way to treat diaper rash is to prevent it, but this isn't always possible. It is very important to keep the diaper area dry and clean. If the diaper rash continues even after you have tried the following suggestions, call your child's doctor for advice.
- To decrease wetness on baby's skin, change the diaper often when the baby is awake. Babies usually have 6-8 wet diapers every 24 hours.
- If your baby has a diaper rash, it may be helpful to remove the diaper and allow the bottom to be open to the air. Place your baby on a couple of cloth diapers or receiving blankets over a plastic sheet. If it is cool weather, keep the room as warm as possible. Don't use ointment on the skin while the diaper is off.
- Use soap only once a day. Soap can dry and irritate the skin. Be sure to use a gentle soap. If your baby has a very messy stool, it may be better to clean the baby in the tub or sink. Be sure to gently pat the area dry.
- Use baby wipes which are mosturizing. They may contain alcohol which is very drying. If the brand you are using causes a problem, switch to another. Do not use diaper wipes until the rash has cleared, try using water, or mineral oil on a cotton ball.
- Use a thick, protective layer of ointment (A&D, Desitin, zinc oxide, Balmex, Eucerin or a brand recommended by your child's doctor) on your baby's bottom to help protect the skin. Use only medications and ointments that your child's doctor recommends for your baby.
- Don't use talcem powder. It may absorb moisture, but it can be inhaled by your baby and cause irritation to breathing passages. Cornstarch is a safer and more effective substitute.
Call your child's doctor if:
- Your baby's diaper rash does not clear up within 1-2 days, or if blisters or raised areas appear.
- The cause of your baby's rash is frequent liquid stools urine that has a strong smell for more than 1 day, this can lead to dehydration, which can be very serious to a small infant. Urine that has a strong smell can be a sign of dehydration.