Nappy rash is a very common skin condition that causes redness to the area covered by a nappy. Nearly all babies will be affected by nappy rash at some time. Mild cases will probably not cause your baby pain or discomfort, however if it gets worse your baby could become distressed.
What are the symptoms of nappy rash?
In babies with nappy rash the skin around the nappy area will be red and inflamed. The affected area maybe hot to the touch and spots or blisters might develop. Nappy rash can affect your baby’s genitals, inside of thighs and the bottom, it might be all over or just in certain places. Nappy rash can appear quite suddenly.
What causes nappy rash?
There are several causes of nappy rash the most common is caused by the contact of urine and stools on a baby’s delicate skin. Even the most absorbent nappy will leave some moisture on your baby’s skin. Typically, a babies nappy should be changed 10-12 times a day and older babies 6-8 times.
Nappy rash can also be caused by a yeast infection most infections develop from the fungi known as candida, this is the same fungi that is associated with thrush. This type of infection can develop if your baby has been on antibiotics. Candida thrives in moist areas and so a wet nappy is an ideal environment.
Allergies can also cause nappy rash to develop. Again, babies are so sensitive, a change in cream, nappy, wipes might all cause a reaction.
What are the risk factors for nappy rash?
If a baby is left in a wet or soiled nappy for long periods nappy rash is more likely to develop. Some babies skin can be more sensitive than others and so they might be more likely to get nappy rash even with frequent nappy changes.
What is the diagnosis for nappy rash?
If your baby has nappy rash you will probably be able to identify it yourself. However, if you visit your doctor they should be able to tell what is causing the nappy rash just by examination.
What is the treatment for nappy rash?
Most cases of nappy rash can be treated yourself, it is important to treat it at the first sign. Ensure you change the nappy regularly and especially after every bowel movement. When cleaning your baby clean the genitals and bottom from front to back. Use cotton wool and warm water ideally, but if you use wipes make sure they are mild and unscented. Gently pat the skin dry with a towel, do not rub. Apply a thin layer of barrier cream or ointment before putting on a clean nappy. Don’t apply the barrier cream too thickly, this can stop the nappy drawing moisture from the skin. When you can give your baby as much nappy free time as possible to help the bottom remain dry. It is often easy to leave your baby’s nappy off while they sleep, lay them on an absorbent towel or disposable absorbent sheet.
If the nappy rash is caused by a fungal infection you will need an antifungal cream to treat the infection. The active ingredient is clotrimazole and relieves your baby’s symptoms.
Mild cases of nappy rash should clear up in a few days, however if it persists a mild steroid cream such as hydrocortisone could be prescribed to soothe the area.
If the nappy rash persists or is raw and blistering then you should contact your doctor for help.
How do I prevent nappy rash in my baby?
Nappy rash is so common so your baby might well get it again. The best defence is prevention so always ensure your baby’s bottom is clean and dry, so change the nappy as soon as they wet or soil it. Choose a nappy that has a high absorbency. If you use baby wipes choose ones that are fragrance and alcohol free. Avoid bathing your baby too much it is thought that this might dry out their skin more. You should also avoid using talcum powder as this can irritate the skin.
What are the long-term effects of nappy rash?
Most mild cases of nappy rash will heal within 3-4 days and is rarely a problem once a baby is potty trained. Treatment can sometimes take some time and is frustrating for parents if their baby is in distress. If untreated it can become infected and look pus like, your baby may also develop a fever. If this happens you will need to see your doctor for treatment.