Tuesday: Decoding Diaper Rash



If your child's diaper area looks irritated and red, chances are it's diaper rash. The skin may also be a little puffy and warm when you touch it. Diaper rash can be mild – a few prickly red spots in a small area – or extensive, with tender red bumps that spread to your child's tummy and thighs.

Diaper rash doesn't mark you as a negligent parent. Dealing with diaper rash is part and parcel of childcare, especially in the first year or so of your child's life.

How did my child get diaper rash?
Diaper rash can be caused by anything from a new food to your child's own urine. Here are the most likely culprits:

Wetness. Even the most absorbent diaper leaves some moisture on your child's skin. And when your child's urine mixes with bacteria from his stool, it breaks down and forms ammonia, which can be very harsh. That's why children with frequent bowel movements or diarrhea are more prone to diaper rash.

Although a child left in a dirty diaper for too long is more likely to develop diaper rash, any child with sensitive skin can get a rash, even if his parents are diligent diaper changers.

Chafing or chemical sensitivity. Your child's diaper rash may be the result of his diaper rubbing against his skin, especially if he's particularly sensitive to chemicals like the fragrances in a disposable diaper or the detergents used to wash a cloth diaper. It could also be that a lotion or powder you're using at diaper time doesn't agree with your child's skin.

New foods. It's common for children to get diaper rash when they start eating solid foods or are introduced to a new food. Any new food changes the composition of the stool. (The acids in certain foods, such as strawberries and fruit juices, can be especially troublesome for some kids.) A new food might increase the frequency of your child's bowel movements as well. If you're breastfeeding, your child's skin could even be reacting to something you're eating.

Infection. The diaper area is warm and moist — just the way bacteria and yeast like it. So it's easy for a bacterial or yeast infection to flourish there and cause a rash, especially in the cracks and folds of your child's skin. (Thrush is a type of oral yeast infection. Some children with thrush develop a yeast infection in their diaper area, too.)

Antibiotics. Children on antibiotics (or whose breastfeeding mothers are on antibiotics) sometimes get yeast infections because these drugs reduce the number of healthy bacteria that help keep yeast in check as well as the harmful bacteria they're meant to destroy. Antibiotics can also cause diarrhea, which can contribute to diaper rash.

Should I take my child to the doctor for a diaper rash?
It's probably not necessary. With some diligence, you should be able to clear your child's rash in three or four days without a visit to the doctor.

Do call the doctor if the rash looks as though it may be infected. (Signs of infection include blisters, pus-filled pimples, oozing yellow patches, or open sores.) The doctor may prescribe a topical or oral antibiotic for your child.

For a diaper rash caused by a yeast infection, he may recommend an over-the-counter or prescription anti-fungal cream.

Also call the doctor if your child develops a fever or her rash doesn't go away after several days of home treatment.

What's the best way to treat diaper rash?
Take these steps to heal your child's skin when you see a diaper rash:
How can I prevent diaper rash?
Here are some good preventive measures:
Q) Parents: What are your diaper rash tips?

SOURCE: http://www.babycenter.com/0_diaper-rash_81.bc?page=3



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