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  • Diaper Rash

    Definition

    • Any rash on the skin covered by a diaper
    • Age: Diaper-wearing age group (birth to 3 years)

    Causes

    • Stool and urine left on skin causes a chemical irritation
    • Worse during bouts of diarrhea

    Main Complication

    • Secondary infection by yeast or bacteria

    When to Call Us for Diaper Rash

    Call Us Now (night or day) If:

    • Your child looks or acts very sick
    • Bright red skin that peels off in sheets
    • Fever and looks infected (spreading redness)
    • Age less than 1 month old with tiny water blisters or pimples in a group
    • Age less than 1 month old and looks infected (yellow scabs, 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 Us Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If:

    • You think your child needs to be seen, but not urgently
    • Any pimples, blisters, boils, yellow scabs, or spreading redness

    Call Us During Weekday Office Hours If:

    • You have other questions or concerns
    • Rash is very raw or bleeds
    • Rash has spread outside the diaper area
    • Rash is not better after 3 days of using yeast cream

    Parent Care at Home If:

    • Mild diaper rash

    Care Advice for Diaper Rash

    What You Should Know:

    • Diaper rashes are very common in babies.
    • Often caused by not cleaning stool off the skin soon enough.
    • Here is some care advice that should help.

    Change More Often:

    • Change diapers more often to prevent skin contact with stool.
    • You may want to get up once during the night to change the diaper.

    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: Using soap often can interfere with healing.
    • Do not use diaper wipes. Reason: They leave a film of bacteria on the skin.

    Leave Bottom Open to Air:

    • Expose the bottom to air as much as possible.
    • Attach the diaper loosely at the waist to help with air exposure.
    • When napping, take the diaper off and lay your child on a towel. Reason: Dryness reduces the risk of yeast infections.

    Anti-Yeast Cream:

    • Most diaper rashes respond to 3 days of warm water cleansing and air exposure. If you’ve tried this or the rash is bright red, suspect a yeast infection.
    • Buy an anti-yeast cream such as Lotrimin. No prescription is needed.
    • Use Lotrimin cream 3 times per day.

    Raw Skin:

    • If the bottom is very raw, soak in warm water for 10 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of baking soda to the tub of warm water.
    • Do this 3 times per day.
    • Then, put Lotrimin cream on the rash.

    Sore or Scab on End of the Penis:

    • Use an antibiotic ointment such as Polysporin. No prescription is needed.
    • Do this 3 times per day.
    • Reason: The sore is a bacterial infection that can cause painful urination.

    Diarrhea Rash:

    • If your child has diarrhea and a rash around the anus, use a protective ointment. Examples are petroleum jelly, A&D or Desitin.
    • This forms a barrier between the skin and the stool.
    • Otherwise, these generally are not needed.
    • Caution: Wash off the skin before putting it on.

    What to Expect:

    • With proper treatment, most diaper rashes are better in 3 days.
    • If the rash does not respond, a yeast infection has probably occurred.

    Call Your Doctor If:

    • Rash isn’t much better after 3 days of using yeast cream
    • Your child becomes worse

    Disclaimer: This information is not intended be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.

    Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.
    Copyright 1994-2013 Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.

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