Diaper rash is basically any form of rash that manifests in the diaper area. For mild cases, the skin appears reddened. In severe cases, there might be open, painful sores. As for mild cases of diaper rash, they typically clear up with 3-4 days with proper treatment.
Causes of diaper rash
- Rubbing or chafing
- Excess moisture
- Exposure of urine or stool on the skin for extended periods
- Yeast infection
- Reaction to the material of the diaper
- Bacterial infection
- Food reactions
Once the skin remains soiled for a long period, it eventually breaks down. If the skin is constantly rubbed, it is easily prone to damage. The moisture from a soiled diaper can damage the skin and make it prone to chafing. Once this occurs, diaper rash develops.
In most cases, infants between 4-15 months old have diaper rash at least once in a 2-month period. Diaper rash most often occurs when infants are not kept dry and clean, have frequent stools, have diarrhea and starts to eat solid foods as well as those using antibiotics.
Indications of diaper rash
- Faintly reddened skin
- Warmth on the area with rash
- You have to expose the bottom of the infant to fresh air by leaving the diaper off whenever possible.
- Monitor the diaper and change it as soon soiled or wet. Dry, clean diapers minimize the risk for the rashes.
- Observe any changes in the skin and digestion when new foods are introduced.
- Only use mild detergents when washing the clothes and linens of the infant.
How to care for diaper rash
Once the infant develops diaper rash, it is vital to ensure that the area is dry and clean as possible. Always change wet diapers as soon as possible to reduce the moisture on the skin.
Gently clean the diaper area using water and a soft washcloth. In most cases, disposable diaper wipes can be used. Just make sure to avoid wipes that contain alcohol or fragrance. You can use water and soap only if the stool does not easily come off. In case the rash is severe, you can utilize a squirt bottle of water to clean and rinse the area without rubbing.
Pat the area dry and allow to air dry. You can apply a thick layer of cream or ointment. Take note that these ointments are thick and are not completely removed on the next diaper change. Just remember to avoid rubbing since this will only damage the skin.
Make sure that the diaper is not too tight, especially at night time. You have to keep the diaper slack so that the soiled areas will not rub against the skin.
When to consult a doctor
Oftentimes, a diaper rash requires medical care. It is best to set an appointment with a doctor for the following:
- Rash is painful
- Rash does not appear to subside or becomes worse 2-3 days after treatment was started
- The infant is given an antibiotic and develops a bright red rash with reddened spots at the perimeters
- Rash includes blisters or filled with pus
- Yeast infection is suspected
Type of diaper to use
Diapers are usually made out of disposable materials or cloth. The cloth diapers can be washed after they are soiled and then used again. The disposable diapers are thrown away after every use.
Diaper rash is uncommon with the disposable diapers. On the other hand, it is more important that the diaper used is regularly changed. Whether cloth or disposable diapers are used, always change them as needed to keep the infant dry, clean and healthy.