Diaper Rash

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Question

What can I do to treat diaper rashes for my baby, and what can I do to prevent diaper rashes in the future?

Answer

The first thing to do to treat a diaper rash is to remove the source of irritation. It's good to have a "diaper free" time, also to change diapers frequently, as well as thoroughly clean and dry the diaper area with each diaper change. The second thing to do is to reduce the immediate diaper rash skin reaction. Protective agents can be used to act as a lubricant to decrease friction a well as absorb moisture or protect skin from contact with moisture. These protective agents should be applied with each diaper change after completely drying the diaper area.

Potential diaper rash remedies

Examples of protective agents include products that contain zinc oxide (Aveeno Baby®, Balmex®, A+D®), zinc oxide paste (Triple Paste®, Desitin®, Boudreaux's Butt Paste®), petrolatum jelly, or dimethicone. Other protective agents include kaolin, mineral oil, cod liver oil, allantoin, and lanolin.

Another way to reduce the immediate skin reaction is to use absorbents or powders. These decrease the moisture but must be used cautiously to avoid inhalation and should not be applied to broken or oozing skin. Examples of absorbents are cornstarch and talc.

It's very important to refer to a physician if the infant has lesions outside the diaper area; if the diaper rash is persistent for 7 days or no improvement after 3-4 days of treatment; if the infant has diarrhea, fever, nausea, or vomiting; if you notice the infant is lethargic or has behavioral changes; and if you see that there is pus or oozing lesions. It's good to use preventative measures especially when your infant is at a greater risk of diaper rash, such as diarrhea or taking antibiotics.

See our Health Encyclopedia for more information about diaper rashes.

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