The presence of rashes in the diaper area of the baby that is around the genitals and buttocks are called as diaper rashes. These are generally reddish in color and can range from simple red prickly heat spots to a wide spread patch. The affected area is generally warm to touch and leads to irritation and crying when you change the diaper or clean the area. These rashes are very common in the first year of the baby’s life.
Common Causes of Diaper Rashes
- Wetness of the diaper: The commonest reason why a baby rash diaper occurs is that the skin is exposed for longer hours to the wetness of a soiled diaper. If you do not change the diaper for a long time, the wet environment within the diaper irritates the skin and causes the rash. Even the most absorbent diaper can lead to a rash.
- Diarrhea: Frequent bowel movements or diarrhea can also lead to diaper rashes especially if the child is left in the soiled diaper for a long time.
- Chemicals: The chemicals and fragrances in the diapers and wet wipes that are used to clean the baby are often responsible for causing the rashes as the baby’s skin is very sensitive. If you are using a cloth diaper, then the detergents used to wash the cloth could be too strong and irritate the skin of the baby.
- Weaning: When you start your baby on solid foods, the ph and consistency of the stool changes and this is the commonest cause of diaper rashes in babies above six months of age. A new food ingredient also may cause diarrhea in the baby. If you have taken some food that has caused an allergy, the baby can get a rash if he is breast feeding.
- Bacterial and yeast infections: The diaper area tends to remain moist most of the time and so the yeast thrive and flourish there and cause a rash. This happens commonly in the cracks and folds of the skin. Thrush is an oral yeast infection. Many times if the baby has an oral infection, he may also have an associated diaper rash. This confirms the aetiology to be fungal in origin (yeast infection).
- Antibiotics: If the baby is on antibiotics or if the mother is taking antibiotics and the baby is breastfeeding, yeast infections come up because the antibiotics kill the healthy flora that keep the yeast in check. Antibiotics can also cause diarrhea which again contribute to nappy rash.
Severe Diaper Rash
What causes bad diaper rash? Most of the cases of diaper rashes are mild to moderate but if they are neglected, then they can get severe and you should seek immediate medical help in such cases. The following are some of the warning symptoms:
- Rash along with blisters
- Pus filled eruptions
- Oozing patches with yellow spots
- Open diaper rash sores
- Fever indicating an infection
Treatment of Diaper Rash
- The best way to treat a rash is to keep the child open and free from a diaper for a few days or if the rash is mild, then you can put the diaper but change it frequently before it gets fully wet.
- During each diaper change, clean the area with warm soapy water and dry the area completely. Apply a nappy rash cream or powder and then put on the fresh diaper. If you do not dry the area properly, the moisture can get trapped inside the diaper and aggravate the rash.
- Never rub the rash dry with a cloth, instead pat it dry and the best method is to let it air dry completely.
- Use a good quality diaper rash cream. The cream will act as a barrier and prevent worsening of the rash when it comes in contact with the urine and stool. Apply a thick layer of the cream so that it lasts for a few diaper changes. OTC diaper rash creams are barrier creams and the best ones are those containing zinc oxide or petroleum jelly.
- Try changing the diaper brand if you suspect that to be the cause of the rash or switch to cloth diapers. You must ensure that the new diapers that you buy should be one size bigger so as to allow the skin to breathe and heal faster.
- If the climate is hot and humid, avoid the diaper as much as possible and leave the baby in cloth pants. Apply the cream and use cotton nappies or underwear. This will help the rash to heal very fast. Use a plastic sheet to prevent the sheets from getting soiled.
- If the rash is caused due to diarrhea, then treating the bowel disturbance is best remedy for diaper rash caused by diarrhea.
How to Help a Diaper Rash?
The best way to prevent a rash is to change the diapers frequently. Do not allow the baby to remain in a soiled diaper, change it as soon as possible. Avoid using scented baby products as they can irritate the sensitive skin. Do not wear the diapers very tightly and get a bigger size before they become uncomfortable and tight. All these above tips will help you to prevent unnecessary rashes in your baby.