Nappy Rash is a common complaint among babies. Nappy rash is a skin inflammation caused by a baby's delicate skin coming into contact with urine and faeces in the nappy.
Nappy rash can vary in severity, from mild to severe. In mild cases, the redness is on the areas of skin that are in contact with the nappy, with folds of skin unaffected. The baby feels little or no pain/discomfort.
In more severe cases of Nappy Rash, there may be fungal (thrush) or bacterial involvement. In thrush there are small red spots which spread to form a solid red rash. Bacterial infections may have pus-filled spots or yellow patches and the baby may have a temperature. In severe cases, the rash is painful and the baby may become distressed.
The aim of treatment of nappy rash is to keep the skin clean and as dry as possible. All cases of nappy rash should be managed using the follows measures:
- Leave the nappy off for as long as possible each day, to allow the skin exposure to fresh air.
- Change the nappy frequently to keep the skin as clean and dry as possible and reduce the time it is in contact with the contents of the nappy, to a minimum.
- Wash the area with water only, as soaps may irritate the skin further. Pat the skin dry instead of rubbing, and ensure it is thoroughly dry before putting on a new nappy.
- Use a barrier cream at each nappy change, to protect the skin from moisture. Only apply a small amount as too much may affect the breathability of the nappy.
There are a number of products available from your pharmacy that act as barriers, and some help to promote healing.
- Zinc based ointments for instance (Zinc and Castor Oil, Sudocrem, Morhulin) are both drying and mildly antiseptic, without causing irritation.
- Other products contain dimethicone, soft white paraffin (Drapolene), or liquid paraffin (Bepanthen) which act as sealants, preventing moisture from coming into contact with the skin. It is important that the skin is thoroughly dried before applying these, as they will hold in the moisture and worsen the problem.
- Metanium may also be used to treat nappy rash, applying a small amount to the affected areas at each nappy change.
- If a fungal infection is suspected then an anti-fungal cream should be used. Apply to the affected areas two to three times per day, and continue for seven to ten days after the infection clears.
- In more severe cases the measures and treatments we have described above may not be sufficient, and you should seek medical advice from your GP.
Gordons Chemists recommend that in all cases, you contact your GP or healthcare professional if you are not sure about a particular treatment or if you are in any doubt about the severity of your child's nappy rash.
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