What You Need To Know About Diaper Rash And Newborn Eczema
In the first installment of our series about infant skin issues, we would like to discuss two common newborn rashes. Our office regularly receives calls from alarmed parents regarding a rash on their babys skin and what they should do about it. A rash will typically cause your babys skin to feel dry and look red, bumpy, swollen, or scaly. Some rashes are itchy and some are accompanied by a fever. A rash can also be indicative of an allergic reaction. Its important to keep in mind that when dealing with allergic reactions, immediate medical attention may be needed in certain situations. However, there are many common issues that affect a newborns skin and most of them are easily treated with over-the-counter remedies.
Is A Yeast Diaper Rash Contagious
Yeast diaper rashes are not contagious like a cold or virus. Yeast infections are the result of an overgrowth of yeast due to an imbalance of healthy bacteria in your babys body. It is important to wash your hands thoroughly after diaper changes to keep your bodys yeast and healthy bacteria balanced.
How To Treat Diaper Rash
A diaper rash can heal within 2 to 3 days. There are several things you can do to treat it.
- Change the diaper right away as soon as your baby pees or poops. You may also want to change the diaper once during the night.
- Rinse the babys bottom after each diaper change. Gently clean the diaper area with warm water and a soft washcloth .
- Try to avoid baby wipes, but especially those with alcohol and fragrances.
- Use mild soap and water only if the stool does not come off easily.
- Avoid scrubbing or rubbing. It can damage the skin more.
- If the rash is severe, use a squirt bottle of water to clean and rinse without rubbing. Or you can soak your babys bottom in a tub of warm water after each diaper change.
- Pat the skin dry. Allow the area to air-dry fully.
- Apply a thick layer of an over-the-counter skin barrier or zinc oxide cream. These creams do not have to be completely removed with each diaper change.
- Do not use steroidal creams or baby powder on your babys bottom.
- Let your baby play or nap with their diaper off. The air helps dry and heal the rash.
- Avoid rubber pants or plastic liners over the diaper.
- Put the diaper on loosely so that it does not rub against the skin as much.
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How Can I Prevent Baby Eczema
Since several factors can cause eczema in your baby, theres no way to completely prevent the condition. You can help your baby reduce their risk of developing a flare-up of symptoms by:
- Avoiding triggers, irritants and allergens.
- Using moisturizer on your babys skin daily.
- Giving your baby baths with warm, not hot, water that is between five to 10 minutes long.
- Choosing moisturizers or ointments without fragrance, designed for babies.
How Is Diaper Dermatitis Treated
Treatment will depend on your childs symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on the cause, and how severe the condition is. Treatment may include:
- Periods of time without wearing diapers
- Frequent diaper changes
- Ointment put on the diaper area to protect the skin
- Antifungal cream or ointment for a Candida infection
- Corticosteroid cream for more severe dermatitis
- Antibiotic medicine for a bacterial infection
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How Is Baby Eczema Treated
Treatment varies for baby eczema based on what caused your childs symptoms to flare up and the severity of their symptoms. Treatment for baby eczema could include:
- Eliminating or avoiding triggers: Avoid scented or fragranced soaps, lotions or detergents. These things can cause eczema to flare. Your provider might test your babys skin to identify if theyre allergic to certain things in their environment that they contact regularly. If youre able to identify what causes your babys eczema triggers, avoiding those causes helps your babys skin heal and prevents future eczema flare-ups.
- Using topical corticosteroids: These are prescription-strength ointments that you rub on your babys skin like a lotion. Corticosteroids help reduce itching and swelling. For mild eczema, apply topical OTC 1% hydrocortisone ointment twice a day for no longer than two weeks. For moderate to severe eczema, your healthcare provider may recommend prescription-strength steroid ointments. Any steroid ointment should not be applied for longer than two weeks since it may lead to discoloration by thinning out the skin.
- Applying moisturizer to your babys skin: Keeping your babys skin hydrated can reduce symptoms, soothe their skin, remove discomfort and prevent flare-ups. Choose moisturizers designed for babies and products that dont contain fragrances. The best time to apply moisturizers to your babys skin is after a bath and a couple of times throughout the day when their skin appears dry.
Treating Eczema In Babies And Toddlers
Eczema is not contagious. You cant catch it from someone else.
For most types of eczema, including atopic eczema, managing flares comes down to these basics:
- Know your childs particular triggers to avoid exposure
- Implement a daily bathing and moisturizing routine to protect skin and lock in moisture
- Useover-the-counter and prescription medication consistently and as prescribed to curb symptoms
There is no cure for eczema but there are treatments and more are coming. These include OTC remedies, prescription topical medications, phototherapy, and immunosuppressants.
Eczema, especially atopic dermatitis , may look and act very differently as your child gets older. Its important to understand which type of eczema they may have and their symptoms and triggers so that you can better treat and manage it as they grow and change. The only way to be sure what type of eczema your child has is to make an appointment with your doctor.
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Living With Eczema And Atopic Dermatitis
Eczema can flare up when you are under stress. Learn how to recognize and cope with stress. Stress reduction techniques can help. Changing your activities to reduce daily stress can also be helpful.
The area where you had the eczema may easily get irritated again, so it needs special care. Continue to follow the tips provided here even after your skin has healed.
Does Your Child Need To See A Doctor About Eczema
Yes. Take your child to see your GP if your child:
- might have eczema for the first time
- is very itchy and uncomfortable
- has eczema thats weeping or bleeding
- has eczema that hasnt improved much after a few days, even though youve been treating it as usual
- is having trouble sleeping because the rash is so itchy
- has painful or eczema that has developed pus
- has eczema and is generally unwell for example, has a fever and/or is sweating, feeding poorly or tired.
You should also take your child to the GP if youre not sure whether the rash is eczema.
If your childs eczema doesnt improve with a combination of medical treatment and management at home, your GP might refer your child to a dermatologist. If the GP thinks your childs eczema might be from allergies, they might also refer you to an allergy and immunology specialist.
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What Does A Yeast Diaper Rash Look Like
Symptoms of a yeast diaper rash will appear in the diaper area in the folds of your babys skin, which includes the groin area, genitals, buttocks and upper thigh. Symptoms of a yeast diaper rash include:
- Deep red or purple raised patch of skin.
- Bumps or tiny fluid-filled pimples.
- Rash that appears shiny.
- Cracked or very dry skin.
- Itchiness, mild pain and discomfort.
Severe cases of a yeast diaper rash create painful open sores on your babys skin that may ooze clear fluid or bleed when the skin breaks due to friction from your babys diaper.
How Is Diaper Rash Treated
To help clear up diaper rash, check your baby’s diaper often and change it as soon as it’s wet or soiled. Gently clean the diaper area with soap and water and pat dry. Creams and ointments containing zinc oxide or petroleum help to soothe skin and protect it from moisture. They should be smeared on thickly at each diaper change.
Some experts suggest letting your baby go without diapers for several hours each day to give irritated skin a chance to dry and “breathe.” This is easiest if you place your baby in a crib with waterproof sheets or on a large towel on the floor.
Diaper rash usually goes away within 2 to 3 days with home care, although it can last longer.
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Triggers Of Eczema Flare
- Soaps. Never use bubble bath. It can cause a major flare-up.
- Pollens. Keep your child from lying on the grass during grass pollen season.
- Animals. Avoid any animals that make the rash worse.
- Foods. If certain foods cause severe itching , avoid them.
- Wool. Avoid wool fibers and clothes made of other scratchy, rough materials.
- Dry Air. Use a humidifier if the air in your home is dry.
- Herpes Virus Infection . Keep your child away from anyone with fever blisters . The herpes virus can cause a serious skin infection in children with eczema.
- Eczema is not caused by laundry soap you use to wash clothing.
Medical Treatment For Eczema
Eczema cant be cured. But it can be managed by preventing and treating flare-ups as soon as they appear.
If your childs skin is inflamed and itchy, theyll probably need some corticosteroid ointment or cream. For mild eczema, you can buy mild corticosteroids over the counter at your pharmacy. The most common is hydrocortisone 1% cream. For more serious eczema or if the over-the-counter products arent working, youll need to see your GP to get a prescription for a stronger corticosteroid.
Other eczema treatments include pimecrolimus, a non-steroidal cream. Doctors might prescribe this cream for children with mild to moderate eczema on the face and in body folds.
If your child is scratching at a rash, you could ask your pharmacist or GP about using an antihistamine medication for a few days. Together with a corticosteroid cream, this might give your child some rest and help the flare-up to settle.
If your childs eczema rash gets infected, your doctor will prescribe a course of oral antibiotics.
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Candidiasis Or Yeast Infections
A group of fungi called Candida normally live in the skin and diaper area. When they grow in excess, however, it can cause a painful diaper rash called candidiasis, or a yeast infection.
The rash may look red and inflamed, and it may include white, fluid filled blisters or swollen spots with a white, scaly outer layer.
Sometimes, a child gets a yeast infection following severe diaper rash that cracks open and bleeds.
Applying a diaper rash cream can help treat some yeast infection rashes. It is also important to keep the area clean and dry.
If symptoms get worse or do not improve within a few days, a doctor may recommend using an antifungal cream.
What Causes Diaper Dermatitis
In most cases, diaper dermatitis is a type of contact dermatitis. That means the skin is inflamed from contact with certain substances. In diaper dermatitis, urine and feces irritate the skin.
Other common causes of diaper dermatitis include:
- Candida. This is a yeast infection in the diaper area. Candida infection may occur if contact dermatitis is not treated within a few days.
- Seborrhea. This is a common, long-term skin condition. The cause of seborrhea is not known. It usually affects the diaper area and other parts of the body.
Other less common causes of dermatitis in the diaper area include:
- Bacteria. Staph or strep bacteria can cause it.
- Allergies. It can be caused by an allergic reaction to dye in disposable diapers, or detergent used to wash cloth diapers.
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What Causes Eczema In Toddlers
Before you panic that your child will have lifelong bouts of itchy rashes, its important to remember that some kids are just prone to eczema because of their unique skin makeup. And even thats not always fixed or permanent.
Theres no way to predict what will happen in the future, but lots of kids outgrow their eczema when they reach their preschool years.
Your child is more likely to have eczema if they also have:
- a family history of eczema
Food allergies dont cause eczema, but they are related.
For the most part, though, environmental triggers are the biggest cause of eczema flares. Common triggers include:
- excessive heat or sweating
Although eczema is bothersome and often hard to treat, you can take some steps to get your toddlers eczema under control.
Wear Gloves To Protect The Skin On Your Hands
Wear vinyl or plastic gloves for work that requires you to have your hands in water. Also, wear gloves when your hands are exposed to anything that can irritate your skin. Wear cotton gloves under plastic gloves to soak up sweat from your hands. Take occasional breaks and remove your gloves. This will prevent a buildup of sweat inside your gloves.
Wear gloves when you go outside during the winter. Cold air and low humidity can dry your skin. Dryness can make your eczema worse. Wear clothes made of cotton or a cotton blend. Wool and some synthetic fabrics can irritate your skin.
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Pediatric Skin Condition: Heat Rash
What it is: When your little one gets overheated or sweaty, you might notice small red bumps on his or her back, neck, face, or bottom.Heat rash can happen anytime a baby gets too hot. This might happen when the weather is humid or when the baby is wearing too many layers. That soft, fragile skin just doesnt regulate heat very well.
How to treat it: The good news is heat rash is easy to take care of. Just cool that baby off. Swap out all those layers for some light, cotton clothing. Move your baby to a room with a cooler temperature . Or try a nice, cool bath. The rash should go down in about half an hour.
When To Call The Health Care Provider
- The rash is very painful, does not go away or get better in 3 days, or gets worse.
- The skin starts to have blisters or is bright red with raised bumps, especially if your baby has been on antibiotics.
- There is yellow or green drainage around the rash.
- Your baby has a fever over 100.4° Fahrenheit or 38° Celsius , along with a rash.
HH-I-28 10/75, Revised 1/22 Copyright 1975, Nationwide Childrens Hospital
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How Long Does It Take For A Yeast Diaper Rash To Go Away
After treating the yeast diaper rash with antifungal medication, symptoms will start to fade and may disappear after three days. The overgrowth of yeast may still be present after symptoms go away, so it is important to follow treatment guidelines from your healthcare provider from start to finish to make sure the rash does not return. It may take between two to three weeks for a yeast diaper rash to completely clear up.
How Does Baby Eczema Affect My Childs Skin
Baby eczema makes your babys skin dry, itchy and sensitive. This happens because your babys protective barrier on the outermost layer of their skin is weak and doesnt work as expected. Their symptoms can last for a couple of weeks each time theres a flare-up of symptoms.
Baby eczema is a chronic condition, where it can come and go unexpectedly. Some children grow out of the condition when they reach adulthood but will still experience symptoms of dry skin or mild flare-ups throughout their life.
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Does Baby Eczema Go Away On Its Own
Baby eczema needs treatment to go away completely. The best treatment is using moisturizer daily or several times each day to keep your babys skin hydrated.
Most cases of baby eczema clear up by the time they start school, around age 4 or 5. Sometimes eczema can go away or reduce in severity as your child reaches adolescence or by the time they turn into adults. As your child grows, they may have sensitive skin or flare-ups of eczema symptoms throughout their life.
Baby Eczema: Diagnosis And Treatment
Your childs doctor will diagnose eczema based on symptoms, the appearance of the rash, family and individual medical history, and evaluation for potential allergies.
There is no specific test to diagnose eczema, but a doctor might order blood tests and skin tests to look for allergies or rule out other skin conditions.
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Why Did My Baby Develop Eczema
What exactly causes eczema is unknown. Researchers dont know why babies develop eczema, though they do know its due to a combination of environmental allergens and genetics. Eczema in babies can cause rashes on a babys skin, itchy skin and eczema flare-ups in the affected areas.
A variety of environmental factors can triggereczema in infants, including certain cleansers, soaps and shampoos. Dry air and ointments can also trigger baby eczema.
If your baby suffers from eczema, consult with a pediatricdermatologist or qualified pediatrician. While they might prescribe a steroid, such as a topical corticosteroid, other steroid cream or an antihistamine, theres other morenatural treatments your healthcare provider could recommend. These can include over-the-counter medications, Vaseline petroleum jelly and fragrance-free products made for sensitive skin.
There are also some preventative measures your family can take as well to help prevent eczema flare-ups. Older infants can wear mittens and gloves to protect the affected areas against triggers. Food allergies can also cause flare-ups and you can create aneczema diet for your infant to reduce their effect. Using detergents and baby lotions that are better for this skin condition can also help.
To learn more about what products can prevent or treat eczema, check out these products that have the National Eczema Associations Seal of AcceptanceTM.