What you need to know about Nappy rash

Nappy rash (also known as diaper rash) and important things to note:
Although this skin rash drives most parents crazy, it is easy to treat with mild creams that are easily available and do not contain steroids or antibiotics.

1. The most common cause of a rash in the nappy area is irritation as a result of leaving a baby in a wet nappy for many hours. The prolonged wetness weakens the skin and leads to the skin breaking down easily.

2. Allergy to the materials used to make nappies can cause a rash but this is not common.

3. Difficult to treat or severe diaper rash may be due to germs (bacteria and yeast) entering the skin that has been damaged. These germs are normally present on the skin or in stool and urine.

4. Investing in a very absorbent nappy or using a liner (doubler/soaker) with cloth nappies will help keep wetness away from your baby’s skin and prevent rash in the nappy area.

5. Applying a thick layer of an ointment like petroleum jelly during each nappy change will act as a barrier between the skin and the wet nappy and also help prevent a rash.

6. Avoid using scented wipes and alcohol to clean the nappy area because this can irritate the skin.

7. If your baby has a nappy rash;

a. Do NOT apply any cream or ointment that contains steroids unless under the supervision of a doctor. The skin in the nappy area is very sensitive to steroids also steroids can also make infections from bacteria and yeast worse.

b. Use an ointment or cream that contains only zinc oxide (the thicker the better) to the rash. Use a thick layer to act as a barrier between the diaper and skin.

c. Clean the skin and remove all stools before applying zinc oxide cream or ointment.

d. Do not rub or scrub the skin as this will further damage the weak skin.

e. If you use cloth nappies, avoid the plastic pants until the rash heals.

Article written by Dr. Patricia Wodi

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