Thursday, February 16, 2012

Diaper rash or a yeast infection?


Monika Pis, PhD, CPNP

The diaper area is dark, moist, and warm. Therefore, by the virtue of wearing diapers, infants are prone to develop diaper rashes and even yeast infections in the diaper area. It's important to learn how to prevent diaper rashes, as well as how to tell a diaper rash from a yeast infection, to protect your baby’s skin integrity.

Prevention Is Key
You can keep your infant’s diaper area healthy by frequently changing her wet and soiled diapers, applying barrier ointments, such as petroleum jelly (Vaseline) or A & D ointment, and allowing the area to air out after every diaper change. Using cloth diapers decreases your infant’s risk for diaper rashes, because the air can circulate better through cloth than though a synthetic diaper.

Diaper Rash
If you notice redness or pinkish red pimples in the diaper area, your infant has developed a diaper rash. You need to reach for over-the-counter zinc oxide cream like Desitin. Apply a thin layer to the diaper area 3-4 times daily, and then cover it with a thin layer of a barrier ointment. Continue to air out the area after each diaper change.

Yeast Infection
If the redness in the diaper area has spread to the bends of the legs and looks very red and shiny, most likely it is a yeast infection. You might have already tried the zinc oxide cream at this point without any results, so it is the time to consult with your infant’s health care provider. The best treatment for yeast infections in the diaper area is an anti-fungal cream applied 3-4 times a day for 7-10 days.

Contact your child’s health care provider if your infant has a rash and develops a fever, the rash is spreading, or you are concerned in any way with how the diaper area looks.

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