Diaper Rash: Diagnosis & Treatment
Diaper Rash in Babies: Follow these tips to soothe your baby with baby rash creams(vaseline) and home remedies(sunlight). Learn more from our Expert Dr. Manjit Singh Sekhon.
What is Diaper Rash?
Basically, you have seen that newborn babies have no control over their urine and stools. So, they have known as automatic bladders. Whenever the bladder is full beyond a certain point, it automatically evacuates the urine there.
Similarly, once stool collects in the rectum, which is the last part of the intestine of the baby, it is automatically thrown out. So, in other words, he keeps pooping or peeing without any control. So to counter this mess that is created by the baby doing this, especially in modern society, we can’t afford to have this kind of a mess; we used what is known as a Diaper Rash(डायपर रैश).
Types of Diapers are.
- Cloth Diapers (Napkins Diapers)
- Disposable Diapers
They could be cloth diapers that were used in the past or cloth napkins, as we called them. They are made of cotton and are wrapped around the baby to contain the urine and the stools whenever they pass so that there is no mess.
Most recently, the kind of diapers available is disposable diapers. With cloth diapers, there was a problem that they had to be washed. But disposable diapers we can use and throw them. So these disposable diapers are quite tight-fitted. They are well fitted so that babies’ mess does not even leak out.
You would know that the baby spoiled the diaper. There could also be a possibility of it leaking out a little. But these disposable diapers are made in such a way that they are linked with the plastic outside, something that is improbable, so the mess does not leak out.
You can imagine, a baby has passed urine and stool both. That urine and stool remain in contact with the baby’s skin. So there is wetness for one, and there are chemicals in urine and stool which are normally there. Those things remain in contact with the baby’s skin. So the skin is very sensitive or delicate.
It gets irritated with the presence of these chemicals, which are continuously attached to the baby’s skin. And it reacts to that. When it reacts to that, its reaction would be seen as red inflammation and that is called diaper rash.
What are the causes?
The causes are as I explained.
What are ways to diagnose it?
Diagnosing means looking at the skin if you find that rash in the diaper area. If the rash is somewhere in the neck for example or on the back, then it’s not a diaper rash. But if it is in the diaper area and you suspect that the mother is not changing a diaper quickly enough, that would be classified as diaper rash.
How is diaper rash treated? Or How to get rid of a diaper rash in 24 hours?
Our aim should be, number one, to prevent the contact of this urine and stool with the baby’s skin and reduce this contact as minimum as possible. So the moment the baby wets its diaper or spoils it, the diaper should be changed quickly. So those chemicals do not remain in contact with the body.
But unfortunately, very often, that’s not very easy. Because the diapers might have just been changed, and the baby is going to wet them again.
And the mother might not detect it for some time. So try to use some kind of ointment that creates a barrier between the skin and the chemicals which are present in the urine and stool. It can prevent it for some time. So the thing is, every time you change a diaper, there should be a protocol that should be followed.
Firstly, change a diaper and clean the baby thoroughly with plain water because if you use soap or anything else that has chemicals. Those also might irritate the baby. But if you use plain water, that is fine. So completely clean it with water, then pat it dry. Do not scrub it or do not rub it. The baby’s skin is sensitive. If you rub it too much, that itself could cause irritation. Just sponge it dry.
Once it is thoroughly dry, then apply a diaper rash cream. Most of these diaper rash creams contain certain chemicals or substances like petroleum jelly, zinc oxide, etc, which prevent the wetness of stool and urine from coming in contact with the baby’s skin and protect the skin for some time. This gives enough time to the mother to change a diaper.
If the diaper rash is very severe, then it’s probably a good idea to show it to a doctor or a pediatrician. Because sometimes, it is severe enough to have an actively medicated ointment to prevent or reduce that inflammation. Sometimes it might even be infected. Parents might think it’s just a rash, but it might be an infection. Sometimes we see a fungal infection or yeast infection. An antifungal has to be used to get rid of that rash.
How can one prevent diaper rash? Or How do you get rid of diaper rash naturally?
Preventing a diaper rash is very simple. It is very basic, don’t use a diaper. Or use it as little as possible. Expose the baby to sunlight as much as possible. We know that sunlight is a great sterilizer.
So sunlight does two things –
- Falls on that area and sterilizes it. It kills all the bacteria. The fungi and everything else.
- It dries the skin. These organisms like fungi and bacteria normally grow in warm, wet, humid areas. So if you dry the skin thoroughly and expose it to sunlight, there are very few chances of the baby getting an infection.
And like you said before, every time you change the diaper, go through the routine of cleaning the baby thoroughly. Pat it dry and use a baby rash cream, which might just even be petroleum jelly or vaseline. You can apply a liberal amount of vaseline. Vaseline, as you know, prevents water from penetrating through it and touching the skin. So applying vaseline could take care of it.
How could one know if it is severe and one should consult a doctor?
You would find the baby getting progressively becoming more and more uncomfortable, irritated, and crying when you change diapers. When you wash the baby, you will find him immediately reacting with crying. You’ll be able to make out that this is painful for that baby. And at this point in time, you should consult a doctor.
Are diapers safe for newborns, or should they be avoided?
Diapers are an inevitable part of modern society because, as I explained, we cannot normally accept the mess being created by babies wherever they go. Back in villages or in the past, it was more or less acceptable, but today, diapers are here to stay.
Diapers should be used sensibly. When not to use a diaper should also be determined by the parents. So when the baby is at home, he just passed stool or urine at that time, you can leave the baby exposed. If possible, you can expose him to sunlight so that it sterilizes his skin.
Diapers are here to stay. Now with cloth diapers, one more thing I would add, diaper rash is a little less of a problem with cloth diapers because they do not seal the area as much as a disposable diaper does. So, in that case, there is another reason the rash occurs, and it is detergents that are used to wash the cloth diaper.
They sometimes remain in the diaper because it is not properly rinsed out completely. And these detergents are very strong. Sometimes we use fabric softener, which is again chemicals. They themselves can cause a rash. So this is sometimes to keep in mind for those people who are using cloth diapers.