My baby has nappy rash. What should I do?
Nappy rash appears on your baby’s bottom because of a skin irritation. It is a very common condition and affects up to 33% of nappy-wearing babies. It is also not unusual for the irritation to occasionally recur despite your best efforts to limit it.
Signs of nappy rash
The skin on the bottom will appear mildly red, and sometimes bumpy or scaly. If allowed to get worse, blisters and sores may appear and spread to the genital area and thighs.
Causes of nappy rash
Nappy rash is usually caused by prolonged contact with urine and stools. It can also develop or be aggravated by abrasion from the diaper. Some babies may also be sensitive to certain brands of disposable diapers, baby wipes or the detergents used to wash cloth diapers. Warmth and moisture do not make things better as bacteria thrive in such an environment.
Risks of nappy rash
Nappy rash is often mild and can be remedied at home. Your baby may also not feel any discomfort. If left untreated or allowed to get infected, however, then it can get very painful for your child. The skin can start to blister and discharge pus. A bacterial infection may present with other symptoms such as a fever, and will require medical attention.
Dealing with nappy rash
The best way to treat and prevent nappy rash is to ensure that your baby’s bottom and genital area is kept clean and dry at all times. Change their diaper as soon as they get dirty, and after cleaning them, allow their bottom to dry completely before putting on a fresh diaper. If possible, allow them to spend some time each day without a diaper on. You can also minimise skin irritation by using a barrier cream on their bottom (e.g. creams that have zinc oxide or petroleum), not using wipes that have fragrance or alcohol, and by being careful not to rub their bottom too hard when changing or drying. If the rash does not get better in a week or gets worse, see your doctor.