My 10-month-old daughter had a bout of diarrhoea and now has very bad diaper rash. Why does it happen and how can I move the healing process along? Also, how can it be prevented in the future?
Diaper rash during and after episodes of diarrhoea occur if a baby is left in a soiled diaper for too long. It develops because stools, especially diarrheic stools, contain bacteria and enzymes that irritate the already sensitive baby skin.
Stay away from using baby wipes at this time since most of them contain perfumes and chemicals that may aggravate the rash. Nothing beats good old soap and water in cleaning a baby’s bottom after stooling. Applying petroleum-based creams and/or zinc-based ointments after every diaper change may help in relieving some of the discomfort associated with the rash.
As the old adage goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” fortunately, nappy rash is a common but treatable and preventable condition. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Step up the pace of diaper changes. Even normal stools have irritants that may induce rashes.
2. If possible, use soap and water to clean baby’s bottom especially during bouts of diarrhoea. If using baby wipes is unavoidable (e.g. when out of the house), choose brands that are unscented and suitable for baby’s skin
3. After each change, make sure that the baby’s behind is as dry as possible.
4. Application of barrier creams act as a layer of protection for the next stooling. Every baby’s bottom is different, so choose a brand that works best for your baby.
Question answered by:
Dr Vina Tagamolila
Department of Neonatal and Developmental Medicine