March 2012

Skin rashes are very common in infants, especially during the first few months of life. Many infants will have dry, peeling skin during this time. This is best treated with a simple lotion such as Keri Lotion, Aveeno, or Eucerin, and the avoidance of soap.

Heat rash is caused by plugging of the sweat pores and retention of sweat. This is extremely irritating and causes a very red, prickly type of rash especially in the neck region. It may spread over the entire back and chest. Treatment consists of dressing the child less warmly, bathing your child with tepid or cool water and a wash cloth (without soap), and occasionally, especially in the neck region, a very light application of baby powder after bathing.

Diaper rash is more easily prevented than treated. It is aggravated by the hot, humid environment produced by plastic covered diapers. Changing the diapers as frequently as practical is enough to prevent most rashes.

Changing the diaper soon after a bowel movement is particularly important to prevent irritation. For most children the diaper area should be cleansed with water and a wash cloth after each soiling. Baby wipes are usually fine to use, but may be irritating when there is a diaper rash. For little girls it is important to remember to wipe from front to back when cleansing (try to keep the vaginal area as clear of stool as possible).

No matter how careful you are about cleaning the diaper area, some degree of diaper rash will occur in almost all children. Once it has started, determine if it is a moist, weeping type of skin rash or if it is a dry and scaly rash. The wet, weeping diaper rash is best treated by careful drying and a light application of baby powder. Once the rash is dry or scaling, heavy ointments such as Vaseline, A & D, or Desitin may be used to prevent contact of urine or stool with the skin. It bears stressing that excessive heat and excessive moisture in the diaper area will always result in a diaper rash. Frequent diaper changes and careful cleaning of the diaper area are essential.

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