When Should I Be Concerned About Diaper Rash?

Medically Reviewed on 12/2/2021
diaper rash
Most cases of diaper rash are mild and resolve with simple at-home remedies; however, here is when you should be concerned about the rash.

Diaper rash (diaper dermatitis) is a common skin condition that affects babies. It appears as a red patch over your baby’s bottom and inner sides of their thigh and usually resolves with simple at-home remedies.

Only in some cases, the rash may turn severe or may be a sign of something serious.

You should be concerned about diaper rash if:

  • It is severe and covers the bum, thighs, and genitals.
  • There is no relief in symptoms even after three days of treatment.
  • It worsens even after two to three days of treatment.
  • It spreads to other parts of the body such as the abdomen, arms, neck, or face.
  • It turns into blisters or sores.
  • It is itchy, bleeds, or oozes.
  • It is accompanied by a fever.
  • The baby cries during urination or bowel movements.

If you see any of these signs, you should contact your baby’s doctor immediately.

What causes diaper rash?

It is not that hard to find what could have caused diaper rash in your baby. It just needs a little scrutiny.

Most cases of diaper rash are caused by any of the factors including:

  • Skin irritation from frequent diarrhea
  • Friction between tight-fitting diapers and baby’s skin
  • Skin reaction to a new product such as:
    • Disposable diaper
    • Detergent
    • Bleach
    • Fabric softener
  • Reaction to new foods
  • Skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis or seborrheic dermatitis
  • Infections such as bacterial or fungal

Additionally, diaper rash may be referred to as irritant contact dermatitis, miliaria, intertrigo, candidal diaper dermatitis, and granuloma gluteale infantum depending on its appearance.

What home remedies can help your baby with diaper rash?

Diaper rash is typically not a serious condition to worry about. There is no single cure that can heal it. Usually, you need to find out if there is any practice that you have been missing.

Here are a few home remedies that you should try:

  • Keep the diaper area clean and dry
  • Avoid scrubbing the area
  • Do not use baby wipes
  • Allow the skin to air-dry
  • Bath your baby daily
  • Change the type of diaper
  • Look for a bigger-sized diaper
  • Change your laundry detergent
  • Try over-the-counter baby creams or lotions (such as zinc oxide)
  • Apply petroleum jelly every time you change your baby’s diaper
  • Watch for any new food that causes the rash
  • Avoid products that contain benzocaine, camphor, and salicylates

How to treat diaper rash

For severe and stubborn rashes that do not go away with the above home remedies, you should see your child’s pediatrician. They will look at the rash to see if there is any bacterial or fungal infection associated with it.

Accordingly, they may recommend topical application with any of the creams including:

  • Steroid (such as one percent hydrocortisone)
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Antifungal cream

Do not use any of the creams or ointments without the doctor’s recommendation. The use of strong steroids or their frequent use can lead to worse problems.

Diaper rash may take several days to improve and may often recure. If your baby’s pediatrician sees no improvement in the rash even with the above medications, they will likely refer your baby to a dermatologist, who is a specialized doctor trained in diagnosing and managing skin conditions.

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Medically Reviewed on 12/2/2021
References
Image Source: iStock Images

Diaper rash. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/801222-overview