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Diaper rash is a very common problem in babies. It is possible to do small daily actions to prevent or heal it.
Babies have to wear diapers until they are toilet trained. Diaper rash is primarily an irritative reaction of the skin. Children who wear diapers are likely to develop diaper rash, particularly babies between the ages of 8 to 12 months.
Diaper rash is easily recognized because the affected areas are found beneath the diaper (buttocks, groin, lower back and stomach, and genital area). Note that creases are often unaffected. Typical symptoms include redness, itching or a burning sensation that may result in irritability or agitation.
In more serious cases, an infection caused by fungus or bacteria can develop, causing redness and significant pain as well as more serious lesions.
This skin condition has a number of causes. Constantly covered skin promotes moisture, skin contact with urine and feces, and friction of the skin with the diaper contribute to the development of diaper rash. Although this is not a serious health issue initially, special attention should be paid to it, since lack of appropriate care could lead to the situation worsening and to possible complications.
The following table shows the factors that protect a child as well as those that contribute to the development of diaper rash.
The difference between disposable and washable diapers resides in their capacity to absorb moisture, which is much greater with disposable diapers. That said, using washable diapers can be an adequate choice if they are well maintained. Therefore, it is important to review the cleaning method of washable diapers if your child has several episodes of diaper rash. For instance, you could change detergent or rinse the diapers twice after washing.
The feces of babies who are breastfed has a different consistency and composition which is less irritating to the skin.
Diaper rash must be treated as soon as signs appear to avoid the deterioration of symptoms and a doctor’s visit. The first course of action is to apply a product that contains zinc oxide, which protects the skin and prevents friction. There are many preparations available at the pharmacy. However, parents must choose it carefully, depending on its concentration. In order to treat a reaction, the product must contain 25 to 40% of zinc oxide. A lesser concentration (such as 15%) is sufficient to prevent diaper rash.
Products containing zinc oxide come in various formats, lotion, cream, ointment, or paste. The latter is generally more effective because of its thicker consistency. Paste is rather sticky and it is important not to remove it completely from the skin at every diaper change, as this will cause a significant irritation to the baby’s skin. It is appropriate to leave the residue of paste on the skin and to simply add more as needed.
In more serious cases, when a fungal or bacterial infection occurs, other medications can be used (antibacterial and antifungal creams). However, it is always better to consult a pharmacist or doctor before using them.
Over-the-counter products are usually suitable to treat diaper rash. However, some situations require medical attention and a more in-depth treatment. This may be the case in the following situations:
Prevention is the best strategy to avoid the unpleasantness of diaper rash. The following measures help prevent its onset:
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