Diaper rash

Definition

A diaper rash is a skin problem that develops in the area under an infant's diaper.

Causes

Diaper rashes are common in babies between 4 to 15 months old. They may be noticed more when babies begin to eat solid foods.

Diaper rashes caused by infection with a yeast (fungus) called candida are very common in children. Candida grows best in warm, moist places, such as under a diaper. Candida diaper rash is more likely to occur in babies who:

Other causes of diaper rash include:

Symptoms

You may notice the following in your child's diaper area:

Older infants may scratch when the diaper is removed.

Diaper rashes usually do not spread beyond the edge of the diaper.

Exams and Tests

The health care provider can often diagnose a yeast diaper rash by looking at your baby's skin. A KOH test can confirm if it is candida.

Treatment

The best treatment for a diaper rash is to keep the skin clean and dry. This also helps prevent new diaper rashes. Lay your baby on a towel without a diaper whenever possible. The more time the baby can be kept out of a diaper, the better.

Other tips include:

Certain skin creams and ointments will clear up infections caused by yeast. Nystatin, miconazole, clotrimazole, and ketaconazole are commonly used medicines for yeast diaper rashes. For severe rashes, a steroid ointment, such as 1% hydrocortisone, may be applied. You can buy these without a prescription. But first ask your provider if these medicines will help.

If you use cloth diapers:

Outlook (Prognosis)

The rash usually responds well to treatment.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your child's provider if:


Review Date: 9/5/2017
Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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