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All about Diaper Rash

What is Diaper Rash?

Diaper rash is a type of dermatitis that seems like patches of inflamed skin on the thighs, buttocks, and genitals. It might occur because of wet or soiled diapers that aren’t changed frequently. Or might be because of sensitive skin and chafing. Though babies are most affected by but anyone wearing a diaper regularly can get it. Simple at-home care, including air drying, frequently changing diapers, and applying a barrier cream or ointment can cure a diaper rash.

What are the Types of Diaper Rash?

The types of diaper rash include:

Irritant diaper rash: Also called diaper dermatitis, it is the most common type of diaper rash that happens when there is too much moisture or prolonged contact with urine and stool in your baby’s diaper area.

Candida diaper rash: It occurs due to overgrowth of a fungus known as candida that can lead to yeast diaper rashes. Candida is naturally found in the digestive tract of your baby.

Bacterial diaper rash: In rare cases, bacteria, like staph or strep, may cause diaper rash.

Allergic reaction diaper rash: A baby with sensitive skin, might have an allergic reaction to ingredients in some diapers, wipes or diaper creams.

What are the Symptoms of Diaper Rash?

The symptoms of diaper rash usually include:

  • Skin in the diaper area such as buttocks, thighs and genitals getting inflamed.
  • Itchy, sift skin
  • Sores
  • Discomfort, fussiness or crying, while changing diaper

What are the Causes of Diaper Rash?

A diaper rash generally occurs after wearing a dirty diaper for a long period, however allergies or an infection can also cause them. The causes of diaper rash may include:

  • Heat rash due to hot weather or because of overdressing your baby
  • A food sensitivity, which might also lead to other symptoms such as wheezing or hives
  • Sleeping in poopy diapers behaviour
  • Diarrhoea
  • Consuming solid foods
  • Antibiotics

What are the Risk Factors of Diaper Rash?

The risk of developing diaper rash increases when your baby:

  • Is not regularly cleaned and dried.
  • Frequently poops, and their poop stays in their diaper overnight.

Also breastfed babies whose mothers are taking antibiotics have an increased risk of getting diaper rash.

What are the Complications of Diaper Rash?

The complications of diaper rash include:

Changes in skin colour: The affected areas of the baby might lighten and it is known as post-inflammatory hypopigmentation. Usually mild skin lightening clears up in some weeks. The severely affected skin might take months or years to come back to its usual colour.

Infection: The chances of a severe infection increases if the diaper rash is not responding to treatment.

How Diaper Rash is Diagnosed?

Your baby’s doctor diagnoses diaper rash by simply observing it. In most cases of diaper rash, medical treatment is not needed and it can be treated at home with home remedies.

What are the Treatment Options Available for Diaper Rash?

Keeping your baby’s skin as clean and dry as possible is the best possible treatment for diaper rash. If the rash is not going away with home treatment, your doctor might prescribe.

  • Applying a mild (0.5% to 1%) hydrocortisone (steroid) cream on the affected areas twice a day for 3 to 5 days.
  • If your baby has a fungal infection then applying an antifungal cream on the affected area can help.
  • Antibiotic medicine taken orally, in case your baby has a bacterial infection.

It might take several days for a diaper rash to improve, based on its severity. A rash might go and reappear again and again. If a diaper rash continues even using the prescribed medicines, your doctor might refer you to a specialist in skin conditions (dermatologist).

Living with Diaper Rash

Diaper rash is one of the most common skin conditions in babies. You should keep your baby clean and dry, and change their diaper regularly to prevent it. Despite your best efforts, chances of your baby getting a diaper rash at least once prevails because infants have very delicate and soft skin. Home treatment usually clears it up within a few days and if it’s not going away, you should consult with your child’s doctor for medical assistance.

Whom to Consult?

If your baby has got a diaper rash that is not improving after some days of home treatment, you need to talk with your doctor who might give you prescription medicine to treat the diaper rash. If the rash has any other cause, like seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis atopic dermatitis, or nutritional deficiency, then treatment for the particular cause will be performed.

Take your child to a doctor if he/she has:

  • A fever with a rash.
  • A severe or unusual rash.
  • A rash that persists or worsening even after home treatment.
  • A bleeding or itching rash.
  • A rash that is causing the sensation of burning or pain while your baby passes stool or urine.

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