What Is Diaper Rash?
Diaper rash is
an irritation of the skin. It occurs mostly in babies, and it is a common
condition. In the United States, it affects up to 35 percent of children under
two years old. Most children suffer from it at least once before they are
toilet trained ().
Also known as
diaper dermatitis, diaper rash causes uncomfortable burning and redness on areas
of the skin that come into contact with and rub against a diaper.
Types of Diaper Rash
focuses on common diaper rash, or diaper dermatitis, which responds to basic
treatments including frequent diaper changes.
Other types of
skin rashes may be agitated by wearing a diaper. These rashes include other
forms of dermatitis, psoriasis, and rashes caused by conditions such as
syphilis, HIV, and bullous impetigo.
What Causes Diaper Rash?
occurs when someone sits too long in a soiled diaper. Diarrhea can exacerbate
the problem. Sometimes a child will first experience diaper rash when beginning
solid food or taking antibiotics. Breast-fed children can develop diarrhea from
what is passed on by their mother's diet.
diapers every three to four hours, so it's important to keep them changed. The
acidic nature of human waste allows bacteria and yeast to thrive. All of these
elements can irritate the skin.
that are too tight or that don’t fit properly will cause chafing. Chemicals
from detergents or other products that touch the baby's skin, including the
diapers themselves, can cause irritation.
Who Is at Risk for Diaper Rash?
As many as one
in three children develop diaper rash. Breast-fed babies are at lower risk, due
to reduced acidity in their diets. All infants and toddlers who wear diapers can
develop diaper rash. Usually, diaper rash does not become a problem until the
age of three weeks. Risk is highest for babies between three months and one
diaper rash is passed from infant to infant.
What Are the Symptoms of Diaper Rash?
causes the skin to look red and irritated. Affected skin may also feel warm to
the touch. Parents and caregivers should call a doctor if a bright red diaper rash
lasts longer than 48 hours or is accompanied by a strong odor of urine, which
may indicate dehydration ().
Other times to
seek medical help include when rashes form blisters or become weepy, or if the
baby develops a fever ().
How Is Diaper Rash Diagnosed?
Diaper rash is
common. Most people who care for children know it when they see it. Sometimes,
it's still a good idea to call a doctor, who will offer an expert opinion based
on prescriptions and other baby items.
caused by yeast infections sometimes occur when an infant takes antibiotics.
Those kinds of rashes will not get better without physician-prescribed
When you speak
to your doctor, be prepared to discuss brands of diapers, lotions, detergents,
and other household items your baby comes into contact with.
Treatments for Diaper Rash
published in the Scientific World Journal
in 2012 suggests that creams made of plant derivatives, including aloe and
calendula, help fight diaper rash (). In particular, calendula fights
inflammation and bacteria, two of the
biggest problems with diaper rash.
and ointments are commonly used to treat diaper rash. They include:
to reduce swelling
or antibiotic creams to combat infections (a doctor may prescribe oral
antibiotics as well)
and ointments containing steroids should be taken only at a doctor’s
easy to treat occasional bouts of diaper rash with over-the-counter medications
and smart practices at home. The best prevention is also the best cure:
frequent diaper changes.
sure your child's diapers fit properly and not too tightly. The diaper should
allow air to get to sensitive areas. Try letting the baby go without diapers
use a lot of soap or wipes with alcohol or perfumes. These can cause drying,
which can make symptoms worse.
use talcum powder. It can be harmful to babies when inhaled.
generally clears up with home remedies in a day or two. If it doesn't, call a
can lead to fussy, miserable babies. It is usually preventable if you follow
- Wash your child's buttocks with water
during each diaper change. Pat dry with a soft towel. Don’t use wipes
containing alcohol or perfumes.
- Keep diapers loose. Consider letting your
child go without diapers as often as possible.
- Keep zinc oxide and petroleum jelly on
hand. They're important home remedies in the battle against diaper rash.