Courtesy of Cy-Fair Hospital
If you have an infant or young child in diapers, diaper rash may become part of your life. Wet or infrequently changed diapers, diarrhea, taking antibiotics or even changes in a child’s diet can cause a red, puffy-looking rash to appear in the diaper area. While diaper rash isn’t comfortable for the baby, it’s generally not serious and can be treated.
Diaper rash is more common during the first 15 months of a baby’s life. Since babies generally are in diapers most of the time, the warm, moist environment can cause a rash or even a bacterial or yeast infection to develop. Frequent diaper changes can help prevent this condition from occurring. If a rash does occur, try using an over-the-counter product that contains zinc oxide for a few days and increasing the number of diaper changes to see if the rash improves. The zinc oxide ointments should be applied in a very thin layer.
You may want to talk to your child’s pediatrician if the rash becomes severe or doesn’t improve. Also call the doctor if you notice the following:
-A rash that spreads or develops blisters or boils
-Pus or weeping discharge
These may be signs of a more serious problem that should be addressed.
Some babies have sensitive skin that reacts to new products such as detergents, lotions, powders or bath products. When you start using a new product, watch to see how your baby reacts. Babies also can develop skin problems related to foods. Even breastfed babies can react to changes in their mother’s diet, especially acidic foods like tomatoes.
Preventing Diaper Rash
Here are some easy tips for preventing diaper rash:
-When possible, let your baby be without a diaper for a short period of time so that air reaches the diaper area.
-Don’t use plastic or tight-fitting diaper covers.
-Change your baby’s diapers frequently and ask caregivers to do the same.
-Avoid using baby wipes that have alcohol or fragrance listed in the ingredients. A moist washcloth or cotton balls work well for cleaning your baby during a diaper change.
-Gentle cleaning and drying are best for baby’s skin. Don’t scrub or vigorously dry the area.
-If you use cloth diapers, rinse them several times to remove the detergent. Fabric softeners and dryer sheets can irritate your baby’s skin, so leave them out of the diaper washing.
While diaper rash is common, you can help your baby avoid this condition by using these tips. To learn more or to find a pediatrician near you, call Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center's complimentary physician referral service at 877-763-9467 or go online to www.CyFairHospital.com/FindaPhysician.