Diaper rash is common in babies and toddlers and is generally caused by the constant wetting and drying of delicate skin and exposure to irritants. No matter how clean and dry you keep your baby's bottom, he/ she will likely develop some kind of diaper rash at some point.
Some of the irritants that can cause diaper rash are:
- bacteria from urine and stools
- plastics from disposable diapers
- pre moistened baby wipes
Here are some of the more common types of diaper rashes:
- Diaper chafing or chafing dermatitis
- most common form
- caused by the baby's bottom being wet too much or irritation from the diaper itself
- the genital area and folds of the thighs and buttocks appear red and puffy
- can be treated with a mild ointment.
- Eczema or atopic dermatitis
- may be caused by allergens, irritants, environmental factors, and/ or hereditary factors
- usually affects babies 6-12 months of age
- may develop on other parts of the body first and then spread to the diaper area
- shows up as red, scaly patches on the legs and groin area
- can be treated with a medicated ointment or prescription
- Read about baby eczema on www.eczemaguide.com/basics/age/infant_eczema.html
- Yeast infection (Candida dermatitis)
- often develops during and after the use of antibiotics
- rash is tender and painful and appears in the baby's genitals (more towards the front), legs and creases between his stomach and thighs
- starts with small red spots that become more numerous while forming together as a raised bright red rash with distinct edges
- needs to be treated with a medicated cream.
- See http://www.fungalguide.com/types/what_is_it.html for more information
- Stool irritation (Perianal dermatitis)
- most young children get this kind of rash at one time or another, especially after solids have been introduced into their diet
- the skin around the anus is bright to dark red in color
- can most likely be treated by an over-the-counter topical cream.
- Strep bacteria (Impetigo)
- caused by Streptococci and Staphylococci bacteria
- can cover different parts of the body such as the buttocks, lower abdomen, anus, umbilical cord and thighs
- if it's not properly treated, it can also spread to other parts of the body
- appears in yellow-brown crusty patches, pus filled pimples or blisters with surrounding redness
- your doctor should see this kind of rash immediately, and will probably prescribe a topical or oral antibiotic.
- See http://www.skincareguide.com/conditions/bacterial_infections/impetigo.html for more information
- Diaper irritation (Tidemark dermatitis)
- caused from the edges or bindings of a diaper rubbing against the skin
- looks red and irritated
- appears in the creases of legs or upper abdomen
- is aggravated by moisture and heat
- can be treated with a medicated powder or an over-the-counter ointment.
- Skin rubbing on skin (Intertrigo)
- occurs when skin folds rub against each other and resulting friction can cause a rash on baby's sensitive skin
- appears as a reddened area
- is usually seen in the folds between the thighs and abdomen and sometimes in the armpits
- can generally be treated by an over-the-counter ointment or powder
Here are more some preventive measures you can use, but even with all the prevention in the world, your baby may still get a diaper rash:
- Change your baby's diaper often, washing the skin with a wash cloth or cotton balls dipped in warm water.
- Use an ointment such as Desitin®, A&D®, Eucerin®, zinc oxide or Nivea® on your baby's bottom to form a protective barrier.
- Give your baby's bottom more time in the open air without diapers on.
- If your baby is having a recurring problem with diaper rash, try switching the type of diapers you are using.
- Limit exposure to irritants such as soap. Washing your baby's bottom with soap 2-3 times/ week is enough.
If the diaper rash doesn't improve in a day or two, take your baby to see your doctor.
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