What is a Diaper Rash?
Diaper Rash is a kind of a dermal (skin) infection which leads to inflamed (reddish) skin at the affected area (bottom). The rash is quite painful and the child is irritable and fussy when the rash is present. It can happen in anyone who has been wearing a diaper but children are more prone to it.
What Causes Diaper Rash?
There can be different causes for the diaper rash.
Irritation is one of the main reasons for the diaper rash. The skin can get irritated with the diaper itself or the wetness in the diaper and cause a rash. Make sure the diaper is not too tight, and also make sure you change the diaper immediately after the child poops. Change the diaper after every 2-3 hours.
Soiled or Wet Area for Long
If the diaper is wet or soiled for long, the bacteria in the poop or the acid in the urine can cause a rash. So, changing the diaper immediately and cleaning the skin properly with warm water is the key to prevent the diaper rash.
The rash can be caused by an allergy to either the diaper, the wipes, or the soap of the detergent used. If such is the case, the cause should be checked for, and the product should be discontinued immediately.
A bright beefy red rash can be due to a fungal infection Candida albicans. The air circulation when the diaper is worn is less, almost negligible, in such cases the moisture which would be present due to the urine will start to help in the growth of the fungus which then would cause the rash.
Introducing New Food
When we start giving solids to the child there would be changes in the child’s stool. This might cause diaper rash in children between the age of 6-9 months. Also, it is important for the breastfeeding mothers to eat such food items that it doesn’t affect the child. The mothers diet can indirectly effect the poop of the baby, and can cause a diaper rash.
Some kids have an extra sensitive skin and are more prone to rashes. If such is a case make sure you apply a good coat of a good diaper rash cream before putting the diaper on and also make sure you give a good and frequent diaper free time to your child everyday. Zinc oxide diaper rash cream works wonders.
Antibiotics can reduce the growth of bacteria which helps in stopping the growth of fungus candida albicans. If the growth of the fungus increases it will cause a rash. Antibiotics might also cause diarrhea which again is the reason for diaper rash.
Passing stool excessively can contribute to a diaper rash. The rash is mainly seen during the bouts of diarrhea near and around the anus. Keep the area clean and apply a diaper rash cream.
Related: Vaccination Chart for Kids
What Are The Symptoms of Diaper Rash?
It is easy to diagnose a diaper rash as it is under the diaper. Kids aged less than 12 months are more prone to diaper rash as they sit most of the times and have a diaper on. The solid food starts at the age of 6 months and therefore changes in the stool starts leading to diaper rash. Following are the symptoms of diaper rash:
- Inflamed red skin under the diaper
- Itching and pain under the diaper area.
- Irritability due to the pain and discomfort.
- Discomfort during diaper changes.
How To Prevent Diaper Rash?
The diaper rash can be prevented if proper care and precautions are taken by the care givers.
Change the diaper at regular intervals
The diaper should be changed every 3-4 hours even if the diaper is not soiled. Incase you are outside even then change the diaper at regular intervals. If the child is in the daycare ask the care giver at the day care to change the diaper every 3-4 hours.
Changed the soiled diaper immediately
Immediately after the child passes the stool, change the diaper. If the stool is in contact with the skin of the child it might cause rashes. Do not wait or ignore. Change immediately and wash the area with luke warm water. A mild soap can be used to clean. Avoid wipes that contain alcohol or fragrances as they might irritate the delicate skin of the child.
Give diaper free time to the child
Diaper free time is very important for the child. In between every diaper change give at least 20-30 minutes of diaper free time, even more if possible. The air should come in contact with the skin and let it dry. This prevents diaper rashes. You can make the child lie on some clean absorbent sheets during this time and let the child play or you can play along with the child and spend quality time.
Let the skin dry
Letting the skin dry before putting a new diaper is also very important. If there would be moisture there would be fungal infection and therefore there would be a rash. So, let the skin dry or pat the skin dry before putting a fresh diaper. Use soft cloth to wipe.
Keep the baby’s bottom clean
The bottom of the baby should be clean. Immediately after the baby poops, clean the bottom. You can use warm water with mild soap to clean or you can use baby wipes which are alcohol and fragrance free. If you can avoid the wipes it is better, as some times wipes are the reason for rashes. Do not be rough, clean very gently as the skin of the baby is soft and delicate.
Do not put on a very tight diaper
Buy an age appropriate diaper. If the diaper is too tight it can again cause rashes. So, avoid a tight diaper. If the child is not fitting into the previous size of the diaper and you still have some, donate them.
Use a diaper rash cream
Using a diaper rash cream before every diaper use can help in preventing diaper rash. If your child is prone to diaper rash, then it is a must. During diaper rash if the cream or ointment you applied is intact, let it be. Just add another layer on top of it. Products containing petroleum jelly or zinc oxide are regarded as the best for diaper rash.
Home Remedies For Diaper Rash
The home remedies for diaper rash include:
- Change the diaper frequently and immediately if soiled.
- Wash the skin with warm water.
- Avoid using wipes as the alcohol in wipes can exaggerate the rash.
- Give diaper free time
- Avoid diaper during the rash as much as possible
- Avoid foods, that might have caused the rash.
- If the child is having diarrhea, visit a pediatrician as frequently passing stool can also cause a rash.
- Apply a diaper rash cream. Zinc oxide creams can be very effective.
- Avoid using soaps with fragrance.
- You can use disposable diapers during the diaper rash, if you need to put on the diaper, as that are more absorbent.
Cloth versus Disposable Diapers
There is no conclusive answer to this question. It depends on what is more comfortable for you and for the baby. Some parents might be more comfortable using a disposable diaper as that means less laundry. Some would be more comfortable with the cloth diaper. The choice is completely yours. If the child is not comfortable with the disposable diapers, you can shift to the cloth diapers. Make sure the diapers are washed properly with mild detergents to avoid any rashes.
When To See A Doctor?
Most of the times the rash goes away within a few days of using home remedies and over the counter drugs. But incase that doesn’t heal by itself, it is time to see a doctor. Or when you find the following symptoms:
- When the child has a fever along with the rash.
- The rash appears unusual and big in size.
- There is bleeding or pus discharge
- A rash that is not reducing with home remedies.
- When your child looks sick.
- When you feel it is better to consult a doctor.
The Takeaway Message
To sum it all up, every child will get a diaper rash at least once. There is nothing to panic. All you need to do it keep the bottoms clean, give adequate free time to the child, and apply a good diaper rash cream.
The diaper rash is not a serious thing and your child would be fine soon, but just incase there are other problems associated with the diaper rash, consult your physician, pediatrician or dermatologist asap.