Diaper Rash

Also known as: Diaper Dermatitis

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Does this describe your child's symptoms?

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Diaper Rash

Definition

  • Any rash on the skin covered by a diaper

  • Limited to diaper-wearing age group (birth to 3 years)

Main Complication

  • Secondary infection by yeast or bacteria

Cause

  • A chemical irritation of the skin from a mixture of stool and urine being left on it

  • Worse during bouts of diarrhea

If not, see these topics

  • Doesn't look like diaper rash, see RASH - LOCALIZED AND CAUSE UNKNOWN

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When to Call Your Doctor

call now

Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If

  • Your child looks or acts very sick

  • Bright red skin that peels off in sheets

  • Large red area with a fever

  • Age under 1 month old with tiny water blisters or pimples (like chickenpox) in a cluster

  • Age under 1 month old and infection suspected (yellow crusts, spreading redness)

  • Age under 1 month old and looks or acts abnormal in any way

  • You think your child needs to be seen urgently

call within 24 hours

Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If

  • You think your child needs to be seen, but not urgently

  • Pimples, blisters, open weeping sores, boils, yellow crusts, red streaks

call within 24 hours

Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If

  • You have other questions or concerns

  • Rash is very raw or bleeds

  • Has spread beyond the diaper area

  • Rash is not improved after 3 days of treatment for yeast

home care

Parent Care at Home If

  • Mild diaper rash and you don't think your child needs to be seen

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HOME CARE ADVICE FOR DIAPER RASH

  1. Change Frequently: Change diapers frequently to prevent skin contact with stool. It may be necessary to get up once during the night to change the diaper.

  2. Rinse with Warm Water:

    • Rinse the baby's skin with lots of warm water during each diaper change.

    • Wash with a mild soap (such as Dove) only after stools. (Reason: Frequent use of soap can interfere with healing).

    • Avoid diaper wipes. (Reason: They leave a film of bacteria on the skin).

  3. Increase Air Exposure:

    • Expose the bottom to air as much as possible.

    • Attach the diaper loosely at the waist to help with air circulation.

    • When napping, take the diaper off and lay your child on a towel. (Reason: Dryness reduces the risk of yeast infections).

  4. Anti-Yeast Cream: If the rash is bright red or does not respond to 3 days of warm water cleansing and air exposure, suspect a yeast infection. Apply Lotrimin cream (no prescription needed) 3 times per day.

  5. Raw Skin: If the bottom is very raw, soak in warm water for 10 minutes 3 times per day. Add 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of baking soda to the tub of warm water. Then apply Lotrimin cream.

  6. Sore or Scab on End of the Penis: Apply an antibiotic ointment such as Polysporin (no prescription needed) 3 times per day. (Reason: a bacterial infection that can cause painful urination).

  7. Diarrhea Rash: If your child has diarrhea and a severe rash around the anus, use a protective ointment (barrier ointment) such as petroleum jelly, A&D or Desitin. Otherwise these are not needed. Caution: Wash off the skin before applying.

  8. Expected Course: With proper treatment these rashes are usually better in 3 days. If they do not respond, a yeast infection has probably occurred.

  9. Call Your Doctor If:

    • Rash isn't much better in 3 days on treatment for yeast

    • Your child becomes worse

And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the "Call Your Doctor" symptoms.