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A form of contact dermatitis that causes skin irritation in the diaper area of infants,
generally involves skin around the genitals, rectum and abdomen - in the area covered by
- Moist, painful, red, spotty and itchy (sometimes) skin in the diaper area. The skin may
be cracked and fissured.
- In male infants, a red, raw and occasionally bloody area may appear around the meatus
(the opening at the tip of the penis).
- Excessive ammonia (a natural product of urine) on the wet diaper and skin caused by
bacterial action. (Urine does not naturally contain ammonia).
- Monilial fungal infection - the same fungus that causes thrush.
- Allergy to soap, detergent, fabric softener, lotion, powder or other chemicals.
- Infrequent diaper changes.
- Improper laundering of diapers.
- Family history of skin allergies.
- Hot, humid weather.
- Change diapers frequently.
- Don't use waterproof diapers at night.
- Keep diapers clean. After washing, rinse them twice to remove detergents and other
- Observation of symptoms.
- Medical history and physical examination by a doctor.
- Urinalysis to rule out urinary-tract infection, which may complicate healing.
Secondary bacterial infection in the rash area.
Usually curable with treatment. Recurrence is common.
- Expose the buttocks to air as much as possible.
- Don't use waterproof pants during treatment--either in the day or at night. They keep
skin wet and subject to rash or infection.
- Change diapers frequently--even at night if the rash is extensive.
- Don't use soap or boric acid to wash the rash area. Cleanse with cotton dipped in
- Discontinue using baby lotion, powder, ointment or baby oil unless prescribed by your
- Apply small amounts of non-prescription petroleum jelly, lanolin-based ointment or zinc
oxide ointment to the rash at the earliest sign of diaper rash, and 2 or 3 times a day
- Add 1 cup of vinegar to the waterproof panties when it is half-full of rinse water. This
neutralizes detergent residue.
Your doctor may prescribe medicated anti-inflammatory
ointments or creams.
No special diet. Avoid foods that cause diarrhea.
The following occurs during treatment:
- Pustules in the rash area.
- Male infant has a weak urinary stream.
- Female infant develops adhesions of the vaginal lips.
- New, unexplained symptoms develop.