First Aid for Diaper Rash

Diaper rash is a common skin problem that causes inflamed skin on your baby’s bottom.

Diaper rash is usually linked to not changing a baby’s diaper regular and frequent wetting of the diapers. Other causes also include the usage of plastic pants over diapers and diarrhea.

Diaper rash can develop after a baby starts eating solid foods, when the baby takes antibiotics or when the mother eats certain food substances.

Diaper rash can be alarming, but in most cases the problem can be treated with simple home treatment measures.

Signs and symptoms for diaper rash

Signs and symptoms of diaper rash include:

  • Red, tender, puffy looking skin in the rash region – thighs, buttocks and genitals
  • Changes in disposition. Your baby may seem more uncomfortable, especially while making diaper changes. The baby may cry or fuss when you touch or wash the diaper area

When to seek medical attention when diaper rash occurs

Diaper rash can be easily treated and symptoms can be improved within a few days of home treatment. If the rash does not improve within a few days of home care treatment and over-the-counter ointment, and other measures such as frequent diaper changes, speak with your doctor about other treatment measures. At times, diaper rash may result in secondary infections, which should be treated with prescription drugs.

Here is a video that will explain further about preventing your baby having diaper rash.

See your doctor if:

  • The rash is severe or persistent
  • The rash worsens even with home treatment

See your doctor if the following symptoms accompany the rash:

  • Fever
  • Rash occurs in areas beyond the diaper region
  • Signs of infection such as weeping discharge or pus
  • Blisters or boils
  • Unusual sleepiness

Treatment for diaper rash

Treatment for diaper rash primarily involves keeping the baby’s skin dry and clean as much as possible.

If diaper rash persists, your may prescribe the following treatment options:

  • A mild hydrocortisone ointment
  • An antifungal ointment – if the baby has a fungal infection
  • Oral or topical antibiotics – if the baby has a bacterial infection

Only use ointments and crams containing steroids if your dermatologist or pediatrician recommends the use. Strong steroids or repetitive use may result in future complications.

Diaper rashes may take several days to resolve and the rash may return many times during this process. If in case the rash persists, even with prescription treatment, you may be referred to a skin specialist (dermatologist).

To prevent diaper rash, you may have to increase the airflow in the diaper area. Follow these steps to enhance airflow:

  • Let your child be without a diaper for short periods – for example during naps
  • Avoid using tight fitting or plastic diaper covers
  • If a rash occurs, use a larger diaper than usual until symptoms subside

Change the diaper frequently

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