Diaper Rashes - Coping up with Diaper Rashes
Diaper rash. It’s not a pretty sight for you, and your baby probably doesn’t enjoy it much, either. While far from being a serious medical problem, diaper rash is just another of life’s little discomforts.
There’s not too much to say about how to recognize diaper rash-if your baby’s got a red, sore bottom underneath his or her diaper, that’s a pretty conclusive diagnosis. The good news is, you can cure that rash within a matter of days. And with some conscientious care, you can say goodbye to it forever.
The following are sure cures for diaper rash. Luckily, the same principles apply to the prevention side of the coin. In other words, the lery things that make the rash go away are also Ihat keep it away, so keep on doing them. Good riddance!
Get rid of the diaper. As its name implies, diaper rash is caused by a diaper. Say goodbye to the liaper, and-voila!-no more rash, says Gregory Z Hayden, M.D., a professor of pediatrics and an tending pediatrician at the University of Virginia Health Sciences Center in Charlottesville. “If the baby has a rash, take his diaper off whenever practical,” says Hayden. “This way, stool and urine won’t touch the skin.” To keep any mess to a minimum, you can put the baby on a rubber mat overed with a washable cloth while you air out his or her bottom.
Change the baby often. The best way to avoid diaper rash or to cure an existing rash is to make !sure that the baby is always clean and dry, says Jeannette M. Pergam, M.D., a pediatrician and assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. “The moist, warm environment under the diaper is one that is very conducive to causing skin infections,” she says.
Avoid commercial baby wipes. Many brands of store-bought baby wipes contain alcohol and other chemicals that can dry and irritate your child’s skin, says Pergam.Wet, soapy washcloths are best for cleaning baby’s bottom, she says. Be sure to rinse thoroughly with a clean, wet cloth or plain water to remove any soap.
Dry that bottom. When you change your child’s diapers, make sure you dry the area thoroughly with a towel, says Pergam. She also advises leaving the area exposed to air for a few minutes before putting on a new diaper. An old-fashioned way to keep baby’s bottom dry is to brown a little cornstarch in a frying pan and apply it to the child’s bottom, according to James E. Bridges, M.D., a specialist in family medicine in Fremont, Nebraska. He adds that commercial cornstarch baby powders probably work just as well.
Choose an ointment and use it. Many pediatricians recommend using a diaper-rash cream or ointment, such as A and D or Desitin, every time you change your baby. These heavy creams create a block so that stool and urine won’t irritate the skin, says Hayden. “Some people worry that the ointments will keep moisture in,” he says, “but they work pretty well for most skin.” A cotton ball dipped in baby oil will usually take the creams off without scrubbing.
Try baby powder, but be careful where you shake it. Dusting the baby’s bottom with baby talcum powder may be another way to protect your child’s skin against irritants, according to Hayden. However, studies have shown that if babies inhale the powder, it can be dangerous, even fatal.Cornstarch-based powders may pose less of a threat, Hayden adds. When using any powder, try shaking some into your hand-away from baby’s face-and then sprinkling it onto the diaper area.
Hang the diapers out to dry. “There’s an old wives’ tale that if you hang your baby’s diapers out to dry instead of putting them in the dryer, they won’t cause diaper rash,” Pergam says. Although she has no explanation for the efficacy of this tip, she swears that it worked for her own children. If you have a place to hang them, you may want to give this a try to see if it helps.
Fight back against yeast. Sometimes, what appears to be an innocuous diaper rash can really be an infection of yeast, also called candida albicans. It may be hard to tell the difference between the two, Hayden says, although a yeast infection may appear as little white specks dotting an area of red irritation. To cure a yeast infection, try using an over-the-counter anti yeast medication, such as Lotrimin, or see your pediatrician for a prescription.
Try vinegar solution. Urine is an extremely alkaline solution, says Bridges. It can burn the skin the same way that acid can. To balance out the equation, try adding half a cup of white vinegar to your rinse water when you wash the baby’s diapers, he suggests. “That neutralizes the ammonia,” he says. Pergam recommends wiping baby’s bottom with a solution of eight parts water to one part vinegar-the theory is the same.
Avoid plastic pants. Plastic pants worn over a diaper keep moisture in and may cause irritation or worsen an existing infection, Hayden says. “It’s better to let things evaporate and dry out.”
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