How to Treat and Prevent Severe Diaper Rash

Most babies suffer from diaper rash at some point of time, even with all the care taken to avoid them. It usually occurs when the diaper is continuously wet, not changed frequently, during diarrhea and when plastic pants are used over diapers. Diaper rash also occurs when changes are made in diet by breast-feeding mothers, when solid food is introduced to the baby or if baby is being given antibiotics. It is a good idea to learn beforehand how to treat diaper rashes and prevent flare-ups.

Signs of Severe Diaper Rash

If your baby is suffering from severe diaper rash, he/she will have raised bumps on the diaper area and it will be deep red in color. Due to inflammation, the baby may scream during urination or passing stools. Parents should be sure that is indeed severe diaper rash before treating it.

Other signs of severe diaper rash are:

  • Intense redness on large area of bottom
  • Severe peeling & edema (swelling)
  • Bleeding from peeled region
  • Large, connected areas of raised papules
  • Fluid containing bumps or pustules

How to Deal with Severe Diaper Rash

Baby’s skin is delicate and requires special attention when caring for, especially when your little sweetie is suffering from severe diaper rash. Fortunately, there are some home remedies as well as medical treatments to help you ease baby’s discomfort and nurture their soft and silky skin.

1. Home Remedies for Severe Diaper Rash

Use OTC products. Various OTC medications such as Balmex, Zinc oxide paste etc. are available for diaper rash. Zinc oxide is usually the active ingredient and the cream is applied in a thick layer, which soothes and protects the baby’s skin. Your doctor can confirm if you should use cream / lotion / ointment / liquid solution for your baby. Ointments don’t let the skin breathe, but creams do. Only products made especially for babies should be used.

Increase airflow. If the affected area is allowed to breathe, it aids in healing. To increase the airflow, you can allow your baby to be without diaper for short time during naps. Do not use plastic or very tight fitting diaper covers. Till the rash goes away, use diapers of larger size than usual. Avoid using soaps and wipes as the alcohol and perfumes in them can cause irritation and aggravate the rash.

Experience of a Mom:

When my baby boy had severe diaper rash, we used pure cornstarch available in the grocery and it worked like a wonder. He stopped crying as soon as we applied it. Once the severity of the rash reduced, we bathed him and applied Vaseline after drying him. Baby girls get yeast infection easily, so this should not be tried on girls. Pain medicine can be given, and I’d advise to use wet washcloths instead of wipes because they contain stinging chemicals and can cause irritation. Good luck to you!

2. Medical Treatments for Severe Diaper Rash

In case the rash does not go away with home treatment, your doctor may prescribe the following:

  • Cream containing hydrocortisone for topical application
  • Anti-fungal cream, if the rash is caused due to fungal infection
  • If the infection is caused due to bacteria, topical or oral antibiotics may be given
  • Medications with steroids should be used only if prescribed by doctor, as long use of steroids can cause other problems.

3. When to See a Doctor

You may consult the doctor when any of the things happen:

  • If the rash doesn’t get better with treatment or gets worse in 2-3 days.
  • If the baby develops fever or looks sluggish.
  • If such signs and symptoms of yeast infection as white scales and lesions appear with red rash and swelling, occurrence of small red “satellite” pimples or redness in the folds of baby skin.

Watch a video to learn more about how to apply a diaper rash cream for baby’s quick healing:

How to Prevent Severe Diaper Rash

Incorporating a few simple steps can reduce the chances of occurrence of diaper rash on the baby’s skin:

Prevention Tips

What to Do

Change the

diaper often

Diapers should be changed as soon as they get wet or soiled. Checking the diaper every couple of hours and this should be done more frequently for new born babies.

Keep baby’s skin clean and dry

Clean the skin with warm water and soft cloth. Soap is not required unless skin is very dirty. Use only mild soap and pat the skin dry. Wipes should be free of alcohol and propylene glycol. Change the diapers when soiled, and let the baby be naked for short durations. Avoid using talcum powder, as they can irritate the lungs.

Avoid irritation

Baby wipes, detergents and diapers can cause irritation due to the presence of alcohol, perfumes and bleach in them. Use cloth diapers and cotton balls to wipe. Try changing detergents and do not use fabric softeners. Rinse the diapers twice and adding vinegar in the rinse might help.

Use barrier ointments

Ointments or cream containing petroleum jelly or zinc oxide protect the skin against diaper rash. It causes less irritation than lotion or liquid. Ensure that it allows the air to reach the skin and skin is dry before applying.

Try without diaper when possible

Let the skin dry naturally and gently by allowing your baby to go without diaper for some time in intervals. You can place the baby on a large towel and play with him to prevent any messy accidents.

Don’t wear the diaper too tight

Tight diapers do not allow air to enter the diaper area and create a moist environment which causes rashes. Such diapers also chafe the skin at the waist and thighs.

Wash your hands after diaper-change

Ensure that you wash hands after changing diapers so that the risk of infection, especially due to bacteria and yeast, to other body parts, to you or other children can be avoided.