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Nappy rash is a common skin inflammation in babies that occurs in the area covered by the nappy.
Nappy rash commonly happens when a baby's skin is exposed to wet or dirty nappies for too long. Urine is sterile (there are no germs in urine). Germs on the baby's skin, and in the nappy, however, change chemicals in urine and faeces into other chemicals - such as ammonia, which is very irritating to skin. Leaving a wet nappy on a baby for long periods of time can make the rash worse.
Having a nappy on for a long time is not the only cause of Nappy rash. Some babies get Nappy rash no matter how often they are changed, while others do not get Nappy rash, even when they are changed infrequently. Some babies may have very sensitive skin and underlying conditions that cause rashes on the nappy area and on other parts of their bodies e.g. eczema, seborroeic dermatitis, psoriasis, allergic dermatitis etc. A fungal infection, such as thrush, can make the rash worse. Some babies only get Nappy rash when they have a cold or some other viral illness.
The best way to prevent Nappy rash occurring is to follow good skin care routines. The same guidelines apply for treating a case of mild Nappy rash. This means:
Leave the nappy off as much as possible;
Change the nappy regularly (about 5 to 7 times a day in babies under 12 months)
Use only water to wash your baby's bottom at each nappy change your baby's bottom should be gently wiped with cotton wool, dampened with luke-warm water. Avoid baby wipes, which can be quite irritating.
Apply a barrier cream after each nappy change.
Other ways you can help prevent a rash include:
• Drying your baby's bottom by patting (not rubbing) with a towel,
• Avoiding tight-fitting plastic pants over nappies, and
• Avoiding powders (such as talcum powder) when changing nappies.
Talcum powder is not recommended because, unlike a barrier cream, it does not offer your baby any protection from urine and faeces. It can also cause friction and irritate your baby's skin.
Ask your MedAux Pharmacist for advice.
1. Ask your Pharmacist for a soap-free cleanser for the baby's skin.
2. A protective cream should be applied at each nappy change. Zinc cream is the best or white soft paraffin. If the cream wipes off too easily, try another brand, as the idea is to create a barrier. These creams are available from your Pharmacy.
3. Always have a regular supply of nappies so that your baby is never left wearing a wet or soiled nappy. A good quality disposable nappy is best. These allow the moisture to be absorbed quickly, keeping the skin dry.
4. Soft, cotton nappy liners are recommended for use with cloth nappies. Ask your Pharmacist for a suitable product.
5. Always make sure that cloth nappies are washed and rinsed thoroughly to remove washing powders and fabric softeners that may irritate your baby's skin.
6. If you must use baby wipes, ask your Pharmacist to recommend a brand that does not contain perfumes or alcohol, as these chemicals can irritate the baby's skin.