Most diaper rashes respond well to home treatments and require no medical care. If your baby's rash fails to improve after three or four days, see a pediatrician. The cause of and the type of rash should be diagnosed in order to rule out the presence of a more serious condition.
For an ordinary rash, the doctor may recommend an over-the-counter ointment containing zinc oxide to protect the skin. If your child has developed a bacterial infection, a topical or oral antibiotic may be prescribed. For diaper rash caused by candida, your pediatrician will prescribe an antifungal cream for the rash and possibly an oral antifungal liquid to clear up patches of thrush in your baby's mouth.
For diaper rashes involving seborrheic dermatitis or eczema, doctors sometimes prescribe corticosteroid cream. Over-the-counter antifungal and mild corticosteroid creams containing hydrocortisone are also available. However, you should check with your child's pediatrician before using them instead of prescription creams.
How Can I Prevent Diaper Rash?
You can't prevent diaper rash, but you can limit its duration or severity by keeping your baby dry and clean and by changing the baby's diaper as soon as it becomes soiled. Wash cloth diapers in hot water, use bleach or vinegar in the rinse water, and add extra rinse cycles to help kill bacteria and remove traces of soap. The best preventive measure is to let your baby go without diapers as much as possible.
The use of talcum (baby) powder is discouraged by some doctors because of the risk to your baby's lungs if inhaled. However, it’s safe if used as directed.