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Diaper Rash

(continued)

Exams and Tests

Diagnosis is typically based on a history and physical examination of the rash. It is usually not necessary to perform lab testing. If the rash appears to be caused by an allergic response, your doctor may perform skin testing to determine the specific allergy-causing agent.

Diaper Rash Treatment - Self-Care at Home

Proper skin care is one of the most important treatments for diaper rash. The following techniques may help alleviate or shorten the duration of diaper rash.

  • Diapers should be changed more often than normal.
  • Skin should be washed with a very mild soap and air dried or lightly patted dry.
  • The skin should be cleaned, but avoid any rough scrubbing, which could lead to further skin irritation. After cleaning, the skin should be exposed to air, leaving the diaper off for several hours if possible.
  • Avoid using plastic pants during this time.
  • Certain foods may seem to worsen the rash. If this is the case, avoid these foods until the rash has cleared.
  • If the rash is caused by a contact or allergic dermatitis, stop using any new soaps or detergents that may be causing the rash.
  • If the rash appears to be caused by a candidal infection, it may be treated with topical, over-the-counter antifungal creams.
  • Topical steroids can be used for diaper rash caused by allergic, atopic, or seborrheic causes but should not be used for fungal infections.
  • Zinc oxide may also be effective.

Medical Treatment

  • If the child (or adult) appears to have a candidal infection, the doctor may recommend antifungal creams or medicines.
  • If the child has impetigo (a bacterial infection), antibiotics may be prescribed.
  • Your doctor may recommend a short course of mild topical steroid cream or ointment if the rash does not appear to be a fungal infection.

Next Steps - Prevention

Prevention is the most effective way to treat diaper rash.

  • Diapers today are highly absorbent and can wick away excess moisture from the skin. However, it is still a good idea to change the diapers every few hours to prevent urine or feces from coming into contact with skin.
  • Before putting on a new diaper, be sure that the skin is dry and clean.
  • When applying the diaper, avoid tape adhering to the skin, because this can also lead to breakdown and irritate the skin.
  • Good handwashing is a must to help prevent infections of all kinds.

Outlook

Diaper rash usually goes away on its own. In addition, a child will stop having episodes of diaper rash once potty-training has been successfully completed and the child no longer wears a diaper.

Synonyms and Keywords

diaper rash, diaper dermatitis, yeast infection, candidal infection, candidiasis

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WebMD Medical Reference from eMedicineHealth

Reviewed by Amita Shroff, MD on May 07, 2014
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