Have you been noticing a red rash on your baby’s bottom lately? Does this rash get worse if his diaper hasn’t been changed in a little while? Well, these symptoms could indicate that your baby has a case of diaper rash. Diaper rash, like eczema, is an extremely common type of rash affecting babies and toddlers. Like pink eye and the common cold, it affects almost every child at some point in their lives. If your baby appears to have diaper rash, here are the facts on what causes the rash and its symptoms as well as some great tips on how to treat and prevent future episodes of diaper rash.
What is Diaper Rash?
Diaper rash is the most common type of rash experienced by babies and toddlers. This rash develops on your baby’s bottom, causing his skin to become red and inflamed. Diaper rash is usually apparent when you are changing your baby’s diaper. A very common occurrence, diaper rash is typically nothing to worry about and can be treated successfully at home or by your health care provider.
Symptoms of Diaper Rash
The main symptom of diaper rash is a red or brown rash that appears along the backside, inner thighs, and genitals of your baby. This rash can sometimes appear scaly or pimply, and may spread to other areas of the body. You may notice that your little one is a little fussier than usual, particularly during diaper changes or when having his diaper area washed. If treated quickly, diaper rash should not pose a threat to baby’s health.
How Common is Diaper Rash?
Diaper rash is extremely common amongst infants. It frequently occurs in infants aged four to 15 months, however, it is particularly common amongst those between the ages of eight and ten months. Certain infants are more prone to diaper rash than others, especially:
- Babies who are prone to eczema.
- Babies who are eating solid foods.
- Babies who are taking antibiotics.
- Mothers who are breastfeeding and taking antibiotics.
What Causes Diaper Rash?
Diaper rash can be the result of a number of different triggers. The most common causes of diaper rash include:
- Friction: As your baby moves, her diaper will rub against her skin, causing it to become irritated and a diaper rash to form.
- Irritation: The chemicals in urine and feces can irritate your baby’s sensitive skin, causing a rash to appear.
- Bacterial Infection: Diaper rash is often the result of a bacterial or yeast infection. Bacteria thrive in warm and moist environments, like those inside your baby’s diaper.
- Allergy: Diaper rash can sometimes be the result of an allergic reaction to certain diaper brands, or to the detergent used to wash cloth diapers.
- New Foods: The introduction of new foods often results in an increase in diaper rash. When your baby begins to eat solid foods, her stool will have different ingredients in it, which can irritate her skin. She will also have more bowel movements than usual, increasing the likelihood of diaper rash.
- Antibiotics: Diaper rash can be the result of antibiotics. Antibiotics work to end infections by killing off bacteria. Unfortunately, antibiotics also kill off good bacteria, which keeps us healthy. This means that antibiotics can lead to yeast infections, causing diaper rash. If your baby is taking antibiotics, or if you are taking antibiotics and breastfeeding, this could be linked to diaper rash.
Diaper Rash Treatments
If your baby has a case of diaper rash, there are some treatments available to help soothe his skin. Diaper rash creams are very effective at minimizing the appearance of diaper rash. In particular, white zinc oxide creams can help to moisturize and prevent future cases of diaper rash. These creams are available without prescription from your local pharmacy. If your baby’s diaper rash appears to be caused by a bacteria, your health care provider can prescribe an antifungal cream which will help to ease the rash.
Preventing Diaper Rash
Diaper rash can often be an ongoing problem for some babies. Work to prevent future outbreaks by keeping these tips in mind:/p>
- Change your newborn’s diaper at least once every two hours.
- Change your baby’s diaper immediately after a bowel movement. Sitting in a soiled diaper for too long can cause bacteria to develop on the skin, causing a rash.
- Let your baby go without a diaper as much as possible. Air exposure will help to keep your baby’s bum dry.
- Pat, don’t rub, your baby’s bottom dry after bath time.
- Avoid moisturizers or diaper rash lotions with boric acid, camphor, phenol, or methyl salicylate as these can irritate the skin.
Warning Signs to See Your health Care Provider
Occasionally, diaper rash can be a sign of more serious health complications. If your baby’s rash does not get better within one week, talk with your health care provider. Additionally, if your child is exhibiting any of these signs, be sure to visit with your health care provider as soon as possible:
- Diaper rash in the first six weeks of life
- Diaper rash with enlarged pimples or pustules
- Weight loss
- Spreading rash