Nappy rash

What is nappy rash?

Nappy rash is damaged skin in bubs nappy region. The skin may look red, raw, raised and inflamed, blistered and peeling or ulcerated with an offensive odour.

Common causes of nappy rash

There are chemicals in urine and faeces that over time transform into ammonia. When your bub is left in a wet or soiled nappy for too long the ammonia burns her sensitive skin. Other harsh chemicals that can irritate and burn bubs skin are found in some nappy soaking solutions, laundry detergents, fabric softeners, highly fragranced cleansing wipes, scented soaps and lotions and some brands of disposable nappies.

Your bubs bowel movements are more acidic and likely to burn her bottom when she is teething or ill. She may also develop nappy rash if she is feeding on breast milk that contains too much sugar, hot curries and spices or foods she is allergic to. Bub is also more at risk of developing nappy rash if she is exposed to antibiotics either in breast milk or in her diet.

Mild nappy rash can become infected by a fungus or bacteria. The Candida fungus (thrush) that is common in nappy rash grows in a warm, moist and airless environment. This type of nappy rash spreads in red patches and does not go away with cleansing and applying a barrier cream.

Damaged skin from a thrush infection may burn if the prescribed anti-fungal cream is applied too thick.

How to avoid nappy rash

To help your bub stay free from nappy rash, wipe her soiled skin and change her nappy at least every three hours. If you are using cloth nappies, ensure nappies are rinsed well.

When your bub is teething, frequently pooing, ill or going to be in a nappy for long periods of time such as overnight, apply a thick layer of barrier cream to protect her genital area.

When you are removing sand from under bubs nappy, use some powder to help prevent skin damage.

How to treat mild nappy rash

Wipe your bubs soiled skin and change her nappy a little more often. This time do it every two hours or more depending on the frequency of soiling. Gently and thoroughly clean damaged skin with cotton wool balls moistened with sea salted water or normal saline. Dab rather than wipe the affected skin to reduce the risk of further damage.

Give your bub nappy free time after cleaning and before creaming her damaged skin. Lay her on a towel and expose the nappy rash to sunlight for a couple of minutes several times a day. (Safest sun is before 10am or after 3pm). After nappy free time and before replacing her nappy, apply a generous amount of barrier cream to the genital area.

If bub is using disposable nappies, it may be worth trying another brand.

How to treat severe nappy rash

If bubs nappy rash does not heal or it continues to spread after a few days of cleaning, airing and applying a barrier cream, seek professional help as it may have developed a secondary bacterial or fungal infection.

When bubs nappy rash is severe the damaged skin looks red, raw and raised with inflamed patches or blisters spreading to her tummy and bottom. The rash may be uncomfortable, itchy and sore which can cause your bub to be unsettled.

Care needs to be taken when cleaning severe nappy rash so as to stop further damage and limit soreness. It is best for you to use warm running water over the affected skin rather than wiping it. Bub needs to have as much nappy free time as possible with several sun kicks a day.

When you apply prescribed medicated cream (anti-fungal or antibacterial) to the affected area, apply it sparingly and place a non-medicated barrier cream over the top for added protection.

Give your baby an oral probiotic and include yoghurt in an older bubs diet to aid the healing process.

Article written by Jan Murray on behalf of Curash Babycare.

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