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Diaper Rash

What is Diaper Rash?

Diaper rash can be any rash that develops inside the diaper area. Over the years diaper rash has been blamed on various causes, such as teething, diet, and ammonia in the urine. However, medical experts now believe it caused by any of the following:

  • Yeast infection
  • Bacterial infection
  • Chafing or rubbing
  • Allergic reaction to diaper material
  • Too much moisture
  • Prolonged contact of the skin with urine, feces, or both

More than half of babies between 4 months and 15 months of age develop diaper rash at least once in a 2-month period. Diaper rash occurs more often in the following instances:

  • If babies are not kept clean and dry
  • Babies who have frequent stools, especially when the stools stay in their diapers overnight.
  • When babies begin to eat solid foods
  • When babies are taking antibiotics, or in nursing babies whose mothers are taking antibiotics.

What does it look like?

In mild cases, the skin might be red. In more severe cases, there may be painful open sores. You will usually see a rash around the abdomen, genitalia, and inside the skin folds of the thighs and buttocks.

How do you treat it?

If diaper rash develops despite your best efforts to prevent it, try the following:

  • Change wet or soiled diapers often.
  • Use clear water to cleanse the diaper area with each diaper change.
  • Using water in a squirt bottle lets you clean and rinse without rubbing.
  • Pat dry; do not rub. Allow the area to air dry fully.
  • Apply a thick layer of protective ointment or cream (containing zinc oxide and petrolatum) to form a protective coating on the skin. These ointments are usually thick and pasty and do not have to be completely removed at the next diaper change.
  • Use creams with steroids only if your pediatrician recommends  them. They are rarely needed and may be harmful.

Infants taking antibiotics are more likely to get diaper rashes caused by yeast infections. You can treat this with over-the-counter antifungal medication. If you see these symptoms, you may wish to consult with your pediatrician. You may also want to check with your pediatrician though if the rash:

  • Has blisters or pus-filled sores
  • Does not go away within 48 to 72 hours
  • Becomes worse


Information on this site is intended for Angel Kids Pediatrics patients only. Always consult your doctor before beginning, modifying, or discontinuing any treatment plan.

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