Diaper Rash - definition and treatment

Diaper Rash - definition and treatment

Diaper Rash - An irritation of the genitals and buttocks in an infant or young child who wears diapers. Diaper RASH may also affect adults who wear adult diapers or other incontinence products. Most diaper rash begins as a reaction to the chemicals in urine or feces, notably ammonia, that comes into contact with the SKIN. The skin typically appears chapped and raw. The involved area is painful and may crack and bleed. Diaper rash that lasts longer than three days often reflects an INFECTION of the skin, commonly FUNGUS (CANDIDIASIS). Untreated, persistent diaper rash may develop macerations that can result in deep ulcerations and CELLULITIS, requiring medical treatment. Mild to moderate diaper rash is very common in children who are not yet toilet trained, with nearly all children experiencing at least one episode. Diaper rash often accompanies DIARRHEA. Diaper rash occurs equally among infants who wear cloth diapers and who wear disposable diapers.

Diaper Rash Treatment

Home treatment successfully eliminates most diaper rash. Methods include

  • frequent diaper changes
  • cleansing the skin with gentle soap and warm water with each diaper change
  • application of a moisture barrier cream or diaper rash product with each diaper change

A doctor should evaluate diaper rash that persists longer than a few days without improvement after home treatment measures.


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