The best treatment for a diaper rash is to keep the diaper area clean and dry. This will also help prevent new diaper rashes.
- Always wash your hands after changing a diaper
- Ask your doctor if a diaper rash cream would be helpful. Zinc oxide or petroleum jelly-based products help keep moisture away from baby’s skin when applied to completely clean, dry skin
- Avoid using wipes that have alcohol or perfume. They may dry out or irritate the skin more
- Do NOT use corn starch on your baby’s bottom. It can make a yeast diaper rash worse
- Do NOT use talc (talcum powder). It can get into your baby’s lungs
- Change your baby’s diaper often, and as soon as possible after the baby urinates or passes stool
- Lay your baby on a towel without a diaper on whenever possible. The more time the baby can be kept out of a diaper, the better
- Pat the area dry or allow to air-dry
- Put diapers on loosely. Diapers that are too tight don’t allow enough air and may rub and irritate the baby’s waist or thighs
- Use water and a soft cloth or cotton ball to gently clean the diaper area with every diaper change. Avoid rubbing or scrubbin the area. A squirt bottle of water may be used for sensitive areas
- Using highly absorbent diapers helps keep the skin dry and reduces the chance of getting an infection
If you use cloth diapers:
- Avoid plastic or rubber pants over the diaper. They do not allow enough air to pass through
- Do NOT use fabric softeners or dryer sheets. They may make the rash worse
- When washing cloth diapers, rinse 2 or 3 times to remove all soap if your child already has a rash or has had one before
Topical antifungal skin creams and ointments will clear up infections caused by yeast. Nystatin, miconazole, clotrimazole, and ketaconazole are common ones.
Sometimes a mild, topical corticosteroid cream may be used. Talk to your doctor before trying this on your baby.
The rash usually responds well to treatment.
Complications from Candida-associated diaper rash can include:
- Secondary infection
Calling Your Health Care Provider
Call your health care provider if:
- The rash gets worse or does not go away in 2-3 days
- The rash spreads to the abdomen, back, arms, or face
- You notice pimples, blisters, ulcers, large bumps, or pus-filled sores
- Your baby also has a fever
- Your baby is taking an antibiotic and develops a bright red rash with spots at its edges. This might be a yeast infection
- Your baby develops a rash during the first 6 weeks of life
Review Date : 8/2/2009
Reviewed By : Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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