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Spare Your Baby From Diaper Rash

Diaper rash may be more common than you think. More than half of babies 4 to 15 months old get diaper rash at least once in a two-month span, say experts at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

The top cause of diaper rash is moisture, made worse by chafing or rubbing. Moisture often stems from long contact with urine or feces. It is best to check your baby's diaper frequently and change often when they have diaper rash. Disposable diapers are better than cloth diapers at absorbing urine and keeping the baby's skin dry.

A simple case of diaper rash should clear up in three to five days. If you let moisture and skin irritation continue untreated, your baby can come down with a yeast or bacterial infection resulting in raised skin bumps that look like pimples and possibly blisters or crusting. The AAP recommends contacting your pediatrician if the diaper rash does not show signs of improvement 2 to 3 days after home treatment is initiated.

Candidiasis, an infection by a yeast called Candida albicans, is one of the most common infections. The pediatrician usually treats it with nystatin cream, although other antifungal medications such as clotrimazole also will work. If the infant has candidiasis in the mouth, a condition called thrush, the doctor usually will prescribe oral nystatin. Streptococcal and Staphylococcal skin infections also occur in the diaper area. These infections often are called impetigo, or, if a blister is present, bullous impetigo. These are treated with either oral or oral and topical antibiotics.

Prevention is the key. That includes using gentle cleansers and moisturizers to create a barrier between the skin and the germs that grow in excess moisture.