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What Is Diaper Rash?
Diaper rash appears as reddened skin in your baby’s diaper area. Skin may appear red, warm and puffy, or have raised bumps, blisters, or even raw lesions.
The combination of moisture and creases and skin folds makes this spot a prime area for irritation to thrive. Wetness, chafing and prolonged contact with urine or feces are the main culprits, but it’s also not unusual for a rash to flare up when your little one starts teething or tries a new food. Development of thrush (yeast) or bacterial infections in the diaper area are also a possibility if basic diaper rash isn’t treated properly.
How Do I Treat It?
A clean, dry bum and a good diaper cream is the best way to fight diaper rash.
- Gently clean the diaper area with plain water and a soft washcloth. Cotton balls and a squirt bottle work well, too. Avoid scented or alcohol-containing wipes and harsh soaps, which can have irritants that can sting and even make the rash worse.
- Pat—don’t rub!—your babe’s bum dry with a soft cloth. Friction can further irritate already-sensitive skin.
- At every change, apply a thin coat of good diaper cream. The cream forms a protective layer, helping to protect it from urine and stool. Try the pediatrician-recommended AVEENO® Baby Fragrance-Free Diaper Rash Cream with zinc oxide and moisturizing oat extract.
How To Prevent Diaper Rash
You can avoid another rash by following these steps.
- Change diapers frequently (even during the night) and clean the diaper area thoroughly with plain water and a soft washcloth or cotton balls.
- Use a good barrier cream applied in a thin layer on clean, dry skin.
- Air out your babe’s bum and go diaper-free when you can. Put down a towel, head outside, or put a waterproof sheet on the bed during naptime to absorb accidents.
- Use the right size of diaper, and stay away from scented diapers and wipes if your babe seems sensitive. If you use disposable diapers, try a different brand. If you use cloth diapers, skip the rubber pants until the rash clears up. Diapers should be snug enough to prevent leaks, but not cause chafing, so try out a different brand or size of diaper for a better fit.
- If you think food sensitivity might be the culprit, make sure you introduce one new food at a time, and eliminate any that you think might be causing the rash reaction. If you’re breastfeeding, keep an eye on your own diet, which may also cause a rashy reaction in your little one.
Don’t ignore severe rashes, or redness that won’t go away. Call your doctor if the rash develops with a fever, or blisters, open sores, or oozing yellow patches, which might require a topical antibiotic or antifungal treatment. You should also call your doctor if the rash lasts more than 72 hours, or if your babe develops a fever.