Consult your healthcare professional if:
- You see no improvement after four days of home treatment
- The rash is scaly and has a yellowish colour or is blistered
- The boy's penis is swollen and red
- A red rash over the nappy area
- In boys, an inflamed penis
- A shiny and bright red rash with patches may indicate the nappy rash has become infected (for example with thrush)
Nappy rash is caused by the baby's skin coming into contact with urine, and by the skin chafing against the wet nappy.
Babies have extremely sensitive skin and some cases of nappy rash are actually allergic reactions to lotions, soap or laundry detergents. In others, the baby is being scalded by the acidity of the urine - try removing stone fruits and other acidic foods from the diet and see whether the nappy rash improves.
- Aloe vera gel is very cooling to inflamed skin
- Thrush can normally be treated with anti-fungal (e.g. tea tree) ointment or cream
- Recurrent thrush may indicate an imbalance of the baby's intestinal flora - special infant probiotic formulas may help to relieve the problem
- Most nappy rash responds in a few days to nappy rash ointments and soothing creams designed especially for babies' sensitive skins.
- If infection is present, or if the rash does not clear up after 3-4 days, consult your healthcare professional.
Life Style Factors
Your baby can get nappy rash whether you use disposable or cloth nappies - it is moisture that is the problem, not the nappy itself. Until the rash clears up, avoid plastic pants or diaper covers, which trap moisture.
At the first sign of redness, wash your baby's bottom with warm water, and dry it thoroughly. Then apply an antiseptic cream and a barrier ointment, such as sorbolene cream or zinc oxide, to protect the skin.
Tie some raw rolled oats (the kind used to make porridge) into a stocking, and use this as a sponge to soothe the baby's skin.
Keeping your child clean and changing a nappy soon after it is soiled is the key to preventing nappy rash.
If the entire area covered by the nappy is red and irritated, the child may be allergic to your washing detergent. Try another brand to see if the rash clears.
Wash cloth nappies in hot water and sterilise well. When drying, hang them outside in the sun, then put in the dryer for several minutes to soften them.
Leave the nappy off as often as you can to let air into the area (but be careful that your child doesn't get sunburnt)