Diaper rash is a common problem that new mothers encounter. It is the skin problem causing inflammation and bright red skin patches on the baby’s bottom. The problem can occur in babies who use diaper regularly. The rash on the baby’s bottom can alarm parents and cause distress to the babies. It is not a life-threatening condition that may not cause fatal complications. But, it needs treatment to offer relief to the baby. You never need advanced medical treatment to alleviate the rash. Simple home treatment can help you manage the problem easily.
What Is A Diaper Rash?
Table of Contents
Diaper rash is a condition that a baby can develop due to wet or infrequently changed diapers, skin chafing or skin sensitivity. In most cases, the problems affect babies who wear a diaper constantly. Simple remedies and care can prevent the condition from worsening. The rash can result in red dots on the skin that can cause distress to the child. Simple methods like frequent diaper changes, applying ointment or air drying can offer relief.
Symptoms Of Diaper Rash
How can you detect your child has a diaper rash. When you see the following characteristics on your baby’s skin, it indicates the presence of a rash:
You can observe skin changes in the diaper region. The rash can make the skin appear red and tender. It mostly occurs in regions like genitals, thigh, and buttocks.
Changes In Disposition
Your baby can experience changes in behavior. You can see that your child seems more uncomfortable than usual. It appears when you change diapers or touch the diaper region. Your baby starts to fuss and cries when you wash or touch the diaper region.
When you observe such changes, you can adopt some home treatment options. If the condition does not change after a few days of home treatment, then talk to your doctor. Such cases of diaper rash require treatment using prescription medications. So, you need to consult a doctor when you observe the following:
- Your child has a severe or unusual rash
- The rash becomes severe, even with home treatment
- When the rash itches, bleeds or oozes
- Your child experiences pain or a burning sensation while urinating or bowel movement
- Rash accompanied by a fever
Causes Of Diaper Rash
Your baby can experience diaper rash due to any number of reasons. The significant sources triggering the problem are:
Irritation Due To Stool And Urine
When you fail to change the soiled diaper, your baby can develop a rash. It is because the prolonged exposure to urine or stool can irritate your baby’s sensitive skin. Your baby is more at risk of developing the rash when he/she experiences frequent bowel movement or diarrhea. Since feces can cause more irritation than urine, the development of rash occurs in children exposed to stools.
The tight-fitting diaper or clothing can rub against your baby’s sensitive skin. The constant rubbing or chaffing can result in the development of rash.
Irritation From New Products
Your child can show an adverse reaction to certain new products like baby wipes or disposable diapers. The reaction can also occur when you use a new detergent, bleach, fabric softener to launder the cloth diapers. In some cases, your child can experience a skin reaction while using certain baby lotions, powders or oils.
Bacterial/Fungal (yeast) Infection
In some cases, simple skin infection can spread to other surrounding areas. It mostly affects the area covered by the diaper. The areas like genitals, thighs, and buttocks are more vulnerable to yeast infection due to its warm and moist surroundings. When the child suffers such infection, you can see rashes on the creases of the skin in the specified areas. The occurrence of red dots scattered around the creases can point towards the infection.
Trying New Foods
Once you introduce new foods to your child, the content of the stool can change. Most of the time it happens when your baby starts eating solid food. The stool changes can eventually increase the risk of diaper risk. The changes in your baby’s diet can increase the frequency of stools. It automatically leads to rash formation. If your child is still breastfeeding, then he/she can develop a rash as a response to what you eat.
Some babies have sensitive skin due to a skin condition like eczema (seborrheic dermatitis) or atopic dermatitis. The skin conditions can increase the baby’s risk of developing a rash. But, different skin conditions can affect areas other than the diaper region. So, look out for signs to confirm diaper rash.
Use Of Antibiotics
Your baby can suffer from infections that require antibiotics. Antibiotics kill all bacteria (good as well as bad). So, the use of antibiotics can deplete the bacteria that keep the yeast growth in check. So, the child can suffer from rash due to yeast infection. The use of antibiotics can also increase the risk of diarrhea. So, your child can experience rash due to exposure to feces. It is not necessary that the child must take antibiotics to suffer from the rash. Breast-fed babies whose mother take antibiotics for diseases can also experience the risk of rash development.
Should You Use Cloth Or Disposable Diapers To Prevent Diaper Rash?
It is the main question that every parent asks. You may face the dilemma while opting for the diaper for your child. Many people may advise that cloth diapers are better compared to the disposable diaper. But, no evidence points towards the claim. So, you have no compelling evidence that suggests one is better than the other. The choice of the diaper depends on the one that works well for your baby. If you use a cloth diaper, then make sure you use safe laundry soap that causes no trouble to your baby’s skin. Switch products that cause diaper rash. The same way, if you choose a disposable diaper, opt for a brand your child feels comfortable. You need to switch to another brand if the current one irritates the skin.
Irrespective of the type of diaper you choose, you need to change the soiled diaper as soon as possible. You need to keep your child’s bottom dry and clean. So, make sure you change diapers at regular intervals. Taking care is important to avoid complications or other problems that can develop due to negligence.
Diagnosing Diaper Rash
Diaper rash is a common problem affecting children around the world. In most cases, you can identify the problem as soon as you see it. But, you need to call your doctor to get an expert opinion. In some cases, some prescription medications or baby items can result in the rash. Therefore, your doctor can shed light on the exact issue leading to the problem. Based on the assessment, your doctor can suggest treatment.
In most cases, your doctor can diagnose the problem after talking to you. You need to offer information on the antibiotics taken by your child previously. In some cases, antibiotics can lead to rashes triggered by yeast infection. You must also discuss with your doctor about the brands of diaper use. You must also provide the right information on the baby products you use like lotions, shampoo, soap or body wash. The doctor will ask you questions about the household items your baby comes in contact with or the type of detergents you use to wash the baby clothes.
Your doctor can determine the problem by checking the location and appearance of the rash. It is detected during the physical assessment. So, your doctor can determine the problem and its severity by assessing the symptoms. By scrapping the skin on the diaper region, your doctor can diagnose the problem.
Treatment Options Available For Diaper Rash
Once your doctor determines the severity of the rash, you get the suggestions to deal with it. It is important to keep the skin of your baby clean and dry. Most of the cases can solve by itself with home treatment.
Lifestyle And Home Remedies To Cure Diaper Rash
Some home remedies can help cure the problem easily. The following remedies can manage the problem can provide relief to your baby.
Keep Diaper Area Clean And Dry
It is important to keep your baby’s diaper area dry as well as clean. So, you need to change diapers as soon as it becomes wet or soiled. It will keep the area clean to avoid rash formation. Until the rash becomes better, you need to get up at night to change the diaper and avoid the area getting wet or soiled.
After cleaning your baby’s bottom gently, you need to dry the area. Then, apply a paste, ointment or cream with zinc oxide and petroleum jelly. The products can work well together to protect the skin from moisture. You must take care not to scrub off the protective layer completely when you change the diaper. It can hurt the baby’s skin more. You must always use mineral oil on a cotton ball to remove the layer completely.
You need to increase the airflow to the diaper region for quick healing of diaper rash. To ensure good airflow, you can follow the tips suggested below:
- Remove the diaper and air dry the skin. So, let your baby go without a diaper for short periods. Ensure you leave the baby without a diaper for at least three times a day. You can leave the baby without a diaper during naps for ten minutes.
- Avoid airtight diaper cover and plastic pant to improve healing of diaper rash.
- Avoid tight-fitting diaper until the rash goes away. You can use a diaper that is larger than usual size for increased airflow.
Opt The Right Product
Several products are available over-the-counter for relieving the symptoms due to diaper rash. You buy the ointment, paste, cream or lotion without any prescription. You can talk to your doctor about the right product to alleviate the problem. Try to find a product with Zinc oxide as its active ingredient. It can soothe your child’s skin. You can apply the cream with zinc oxide throughout the day to get relief. The product is applied in combination with medicated creams as per necessity. So, you can apply it over a steroid or antifungal cream. When you apply petroleum jelly over the top of zinc oxide cream, it prevents the diaper from sticking to the skin.
Instead of lotions, you can opt for cream, paste or ointment due to its less irritating characteristic. But, ointments and paste can create a barrier over the skin. So, it prevents proper airflow. The cream is a better option as they dry on the skin after application. Hence, it allows air through the skin. Always talk to your baby’s doctor about the right type of product you can use. It will help you choose the right ones that will manage the child’s rash.
Only Use Baby Safe Products
You must only stick to products designed specifically for babies. Therefore, you need to avoid items containing the following ingredients:
The above-mentioned ingredients can cause harm to babies. The toxic nature of such ingredients makes it a bad choice for using it on babies.
Until the rash clears, you need to bath your baby daily. You can use warm water to bathe your baby. Take care to use fragrance-free soap to give a bath.
Other Treatment Options For Diaper Rash
If the home remedies fail to provide relief, then you need to seek treatment from your doctor. The doctor can suggest creams or other medications clear the rash and offer relief. So, your child is prescribed the following to manage the rash:
- A mild steroid (hydrocortisone) cream to overcome the rash
- Prescribe an antifungal cream to alleviate a rash formed due to fungal infection
- Rash developed due to bacterial infection requires topical or oral antibiotics
You must always use creams or ointment with steroids after the recommendation from the dermatologist or pediatrician. It is due to the fact that strong steroids or frequent use of steroid can lead to additional problems. Remember that the diaper rash requires some days to improve. In some cases, the rash may repeat or come back. So, your baby needs to see a specialist dermatologist for advanced treatment. It is necessary when the child does not respond to the treatment.
Preventing Diaper Rash
New moms never have to worry about using diapers for their babies. You can prevent the development of the rash with simple and easy steps. Keeping the diaper area clean as well as dry will help prevent the rash. Therefore, you can follow the strategies to reduce the likelihood of rash development on the baby’s skin.
You need to change the diapers often to avoid wetness. You need to remove the soiled and wet diapers promptly. Check the diapers at constant intervals to make the change as required. If you have a caring staff looking after your child, convey the instructions to avoid the development of rash.
Clean Baby’s Bottom
Before changing the diaper, rinse the bottom with warm water. You can opt for a tub, sink or just a water bottle to clean the baby’s bottom. If you are traveling, then you will find it difficult to find a sink or tub. So, you can use moist washcloths, baby wipes or cotton balls for cleaning the skin. While using wet wipes, choose non-fragrant and non-alcohol ones. If you use soap, then opt for fragrance-free, mild ones.
Never Use Force
When you clean the bottom, never use force. Gently pat the skin dry with a clean towel. You must never scrub the skin using force. It can irritate the skin further and cause complications. You can even let the bottom air dry.
Avoid Overtightening Of Diapers
When you tight the diapers on your child, it prevents airflow into the diaper region. So, it can set up a moist environment, which favors the development of rashes. Tight diapers can also lead to chafing on the thighs or waist area.
Give Time Without Diaper
It is not advised to use diaper 24×7. Your baby needs some time without a diaper. So, whenever possible, allow your baby to go without a diaper. It will allow the bottom to expose itself to natural air. The air has a gentle way to dry the bottom and prevent rashes. To prevent any messy accidents, you can lay your child on a large towel. You also try engaging your child in some playtime when he/she is without diapers.
Use Ointment Regularly
You need to apply ointment on the baby’s bottom before using the diaper. The ointment can act as a barrier between the skin and diaper preventing skin irritation. You can use an ointment containing petroleum jelly and zinc oxide. It is the proven ingredients that can offer relief from rashes due to using diapers.
Wash Hands Well
After you change the diapers, wash your hands well. It will prevent the spreading of bacteria or yeast to the other parts of your baby. It can also restrict the bacteria/yeast from affects other children in your family.
Avoid Using Powders
In earlier times, many parents used powder before tying the diapers. It was believed that powder like cornstarch or talcum can absorb excess moisture and keep the skin safe from rashes. It is not recommended today as doctors feel that the inhaled powder can irritate your baby’s lungs.
Diaper rash is a simple problem that goes with some TLC (Tender Loving Care). So, with some home remedies, you can help your baby overcome the skin issue. If the problem persists, then consult your pediatrician to get the required medical assistance. With proper care, you can manage the issue successfully.View Article Sources