Newborn Care: How to Prevent Diaper Rash

Learn the causes of nappy rash, prevention tips and how to treat it.
Diaper rash (nappy rash) is the most common problem in babies. Find out how to prevent diaper rash.

What is Diaper Rash?

Diaper rash usually causes mild redness and scaling around the area where the diaper touches your baby's skin. If the rash gets infected, it may appear bright red and the skin may be swollen. In severe cases, the rash can cause pimples, blisters and other sores and may spread beyond the diaper area.

Causes of Diaper Rash

Diaper rash usually occurs as a result of skin irritation. Irritation can be caused by diapers that rub against the skin or fit too tightly. If the diaper is left on for too long, rashes can also develop when sensitive skin comes into contact with urine (ammonia) and acids in the stool. If you are using cloth diapers, soaps used in laundering and other products can also cause it.

A fungus can also cause diaper rash. In this case the skin appears raw and is often unresponsive to common diaper treatments. Your paediatrician can prescribe an antifungal ointment to control the problem.

Diaper rash usually disappears without treatment, especially if you replace a diaper soon as the baby has had a bowel movement or wets the diaper. A zinc oxide ointment or petroleum jelly helps heal diaper rash, but if the rash does not improve after several days, your doctor might recommend a stronger medication, as yeast infection may have developed as a result of diaper rash.
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