WHAT IS DIAPER RASH?
Diaper rash is a generalized term indicating any skin irritation that develops in the diaper-covered region.
Diaper rash is very common in babies. While diaper rash is generally thought to affect infants and toddlers, any individual wearing a diaper is a candidate to develop this rash.
The primary cause of diaper rash is prolonged and increased exposure to wetness/moisture against the skin. Other contributing factors to diaper rash are:
- The closed environment created by the diaper.
- Chafing from friction or rubbing.
- Prolonged contact of the skin with urine, faces or both.
You may notice the following in your child's diaper area:
- Bright red patches (rash) that gets bigger and may blend with other patches.
- Fiery red and scaly areas over the genital areas (private parts).
- Pimples, blisters, ulcers, large bumps, or pus-filled sores.
Older infants may scratch when the diaper is removed.
Diaper rashes usually do NOT spread beyond the edge of the diaper.
TREATMENT AND PREVENTION
- The best treatment for a diaper rash is to keep the diaper area clean and dry. This will also help prevent new diaper rashes. Lay your baby on a towel without a diaper whenever possible. The more time the baby can be kept out of a diaper, the better.
- Avoidance of constant skin irritation by frequent diaper changing acts as a preventative measure. If possible, it is advisable to change diapers as soon as possible after the baby urinates or passes stool. Frequent diaper changes limit stool and urine exposure to the genital area and this helps in preventing diaper rash.
- Use water and a soft cloth to gently clean the diaper area with every diaper change. Avoid rubbing or scrubbing the area. After that pat the area dry or allow air-drying.
- Diapers which are little loose fitting should be preferred. Tight fitting diapers do not allow enough air flow and may rub and irritate the baby's skin.
- Always wash your hands after changing a diaper.
- Do not use wet wipes especially the ones that have alcohol or perfume fragrance. They may dry out or irritate the skin more
- Open-air exposure of the irritated skin is also extremely effective in helping clear up diaper rash (Weather and/or carpet permitting).
- Skin protection: Coconut oil, Olive oil; Petroleum jelly (Vaseline) or Cow’s ghee provides a good protective coating, even on sore, reddened skin, and is easily cleaned. It can act as a barrier between the skin and the diaper and hence avoid friction.
If you use cloth diapers:
- Avoid plastic or rubber pants over the diaper. They do not allow enough air to pass through.
- Large, flat square sheets of absorbent cotton material, which has to be folded and fasten together with safety pins. The fabric is usually white in color.
- Do not use fabric softeners or dryer sheets. They may make the rash worse.
- When washing cloth diapers, rinse 2 or 3 times to remove all soap.