How to Treat Diaper Rash

Diaper rashes are a normal occurrence when sensitive skin and diapers come in contact especially for several hours. These rashes are caused by the chemical reaction of urine and the mechanical rubbing of diaper material. Bacteria react with the urine to form ammonia, acting as a chemical irritant, when urine stays in the diaper for a time. This causes the pungent odor.

Here are some tips to help lessen the frequency of your baby’s diaper rash:
  • Change the baby’s diaper as often and as quickly as possible.
  • Try to detect if the diaper is wet or dirty by observing the baby’s reaction or by the odor produced.
  • After changing the diaper, rinse his diaper area with water with or without a mild soap and blot dry with a soft cloth.  Don’t use a strong soap or excessively rub the already sensitive skin. 
  • Allow your baby’s diaper area to dry awhile before putting on another diaper.  Exposing the baby’s diaper area to air and a bit of sunshine is a good diaper rash preventative. 
  • When your baby is asleep, let him lie bare bottom up and place a diaper underneath to catch the urine.
  • Avoid tight-fitting, elasticized diapers and rubber pants, which retain moisture and prevent the skin from breathing.  Instead, use waterproof mats to protect bedding.
  • Experiment with both cloth and disposable diapers to see which one is most comfortable and least rash-producing for your baby.  If you use disposable diapers, be sure to fold the edges of the diaper down so that the polyethylene lining does not touch and irritate the skin around the belt line.
Diaper rash should be treated early before the skin barrier is broken down and becomes infected. Once you notice the first signs or irritation (reddening of the skin), apply a barrier cream such as zinc oxide. Babies who are teething, have colds, diarrhea, and are under antibiotic treatment are more prone to diaper rashes. If the diaper rash is pustular, raised off the skin, rough, or getting worse, consult the pediatrician for a prescription medication.

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