Babies will get diaper rash once in a while. Just because your child has it does not necessarily mean neglect on your part, especially if it is not a usual occurrence. When diaper rash does occur though, you need to treat it as promptly, because the longer you take to give it attention, the worse it gets.
What does diaper rash look like ? Depending on what caused the diaper rash, it has several kinds of manifestations. Rashes are that simply due to urine and fecal irritations appear initially as flat, slightly reddish areas of skin, usually affecting skin folds covered by the diaper. It occurs mostly due to prolonged contact. Diaper rash caused by a fungal infection such as Candidiasis appears discrete, with raised nodules at the edges of red areas. Since candidiasis can be transmitted throughout the gastrointestinal system, a candidal infection in the genital area may be accompanied by an oral infection. If your baby is breastfeeding, the infection can also spread to your nipples as well. Some particularly toxic cases of diaper rash can even have weeping sores and pustules. For the purpose of this article, we will only deal with simple cases of diaper rash, since complicated cases ought to be brought to the attention of your paediatrician.
Diaper rashes that are only starting can be effectively treated with barriers such as creams and powder. If the area is only slightly reddish from being soaked a bit long in a wet nappy, applying powder will absorb moisture and keep it dry to promote healing. Take note though that starch-based baby powder can cause fungal rashes to become worse, as the fungi will feed on the starch. A better option would be the use of creams or ointments. Petroleum jelly soothes irritated skin to an extent, but your baby might be better off with medicated creams such as calmoseptine. Calamine lotions and zinc ointments may also be used if calmoseptine is not readily available.
As much as possible, let your baby’s skin breathe. Try temporarily switching to cloth diapers rather than disposable ones, and change them as soon as they get soiled. If you can, remove diapers entirely, to really hasten the healing process. For babies that have not yet started crawling, this is a bit easier. You can simply lay your baby on a towel with a rubber mat underneath for protection. If you have to hold him on your lap, just protect your clothes with a towel. For older babies who are more mobile, put on cloth diapers when awake. If you do not have them, simply allow them to wear soft briefs or shorts without anything on underneath. When they are asleep, let them lie bottomless on top of a towel. Babies only pee when awake, so you don’t have to worry. Periodically check the towel for dryness just in case they may have woken up briefly without you noticing.
During diaper changes, do not use cotton or baby wipes. Added friction will cause the skin to excoriate. Wash baby’s bottom with lukewarm water instead.