Caring for a Baby with a Rash

Rashes in the diaper area are fairly common. Most are due to wetness, friction and irritation from urine and stool. Your baby may be sensitive to a specific brand of disposable diaper or laundering method on cloth diapers. Neither kind of diaper is better at preventing diaper rash.

If your baby gets a rash, the key to treatment is keeping the diaper area clean and dry. Leave his bottom exposed to air as much as possible. Cleanse the diaper area with warm water, using a mild soap after a bowel movement, if necessary (rinse well). While diaper wipes rarely cause rashes, they can irritate broken skin. Use water at home and wipes for trips. Allow the area to air-dry.

The stools of diarrhea can make the skin of the buttocks and anus become shiny red and painful. Don't use a washcloth if the area is raw; instead, sit the baby in lukewarm water to cleanse away stool. Expose the baby's bottom to air as much as possible, and apply a soothing diaper cream to put a barrier between the skin and future stools. As the diarrhea lessens, the skin will begin to heal.

If a diaper rash doesn't respond in two to three days and the baby was recently on antibiotics, you might be dealing with a yeast infection. A yeast rash tends to extend into the skin creases; it can be a solid red area with a little peeling or prickly rash at the edges. Apply Lotrimin Cream (now available without prescription) two to three times a day. Yeast thrives in a moist environment, so again expose the skin to air as much as possible. Continue the cream for several days after the rash fades.

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