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How to Prevent and Treat Diaper Rash

By Rebecca Levey for Huggies.com

Your baby's skin is sensitive - especially on their bottom.  The combination of baby's tender skin and the warm, moist environment of a diapered bottom can lead to the unfortunate red, irritated bumpy symptoms of diaper rash, which can be distressing to you and incredibly uncomfortable for baby.

Since your baby will be wearing diapers for quite some time it's important to learn how to care for their tender skin and prevent diaper rash from developing.

Prevention

The best course of action to prevent diaper rash from developing in the first place is to keep baby's skin dry and clean.  

  • Make sure to change your baby's diaper often so wetness doesn't have a chance of setting in. 
  • Rinse their bottom with warm water, or use mild baby wipes without alcohol, or cotton balls soaked in warm water.
  • Gently pat dry - never rub your baby's skin.
  • Let your baby air dry and go without a diaper when possible.
  • Make sure you are using the right size diaper that isn't too tight and is absorbent enough for their age.
  • Eliminate potential allergens like added fragrance from lotions or ointments. Instead, use simple zinc-oxide based creams to create a barrier between baby's skin and moisture.
  • If your baby is put on antibiotics ask your doctor about including a probiotic supplement during the course of treatment to help prevent a yeast infection from developing.

Causes

Changes in baby's diet, or the mom's if she is breastfeeding, can lead to diaper rash from the different content in baby's stools.  Often times diaper rash is triggered by introduction of solid foods, which can lead to increased stools. 

Keep a food diary as you introduce new foods one at a time and be sure to look for signs of rash within three days of each new food.

Antibiotics, new skin products, and prolonged time between diaper changes can also cause diaper rash to form.   

Treatment

If diaper rash happens the best treatment is to start with the preventative measures and keep your baby's skin as dry as possible. If the over the counter creams don't help, and baby's skin does not clear up within a few days, you should consult your doctor who may prescribe an anti-fungal or hydrocortisone cream. Never apply creams with steroids in them without consulting your doctor first. 

Following the preventative measures aimed at keeping moisture and exposure to irritants to a minimum will definitely help keep the red angry rash at bay. However, diaper rash happens to even the most vigilant parents and caregivers.  Be sure to treat it right away and baby's skin will be clear in no time!


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