Nappy rash is a type of skin problem that affects the buttocks, genitals and thighs of babies.
The folds of the skin are usually unaffected.
Although this rash may cause the baby discomfort and pain, it is seldom serious and should only last a few days.
If it lasts longer, it could be another type of skin rash.
Wearing nappies is hot and sticky affair for a baby, so it's easy to get skin problems.
Lots of things can cause nappy rash.
Urine and stools left in contact with the skin for too long.
Not drying the baby’s skin after a bath
Allergic reaction to the lotions or soaps used to wash the baby’s skin
Allergic reaction to the laundry detergent used to clean fabric nappies
Thrush, a yeast (candida), may cause superinfection
A bacterial infection, for example staph and strep, may complicate nappy rash.
Antibiotics prescribed for other illnesses, because they may allow fungal growth,
can trigger off nappy rash.
A vaginal fungal infection of the mother or caregiver can also be transmitted to the baby.
There can be other types of rash found in the nappy area:
atopic dermatitis (uncommon),
psoriasis (uncommon) and
seborrhoeic dermatitis (common)
Here are the symptoms:
Red and/or raw skin on the buttocks, genitals and thighs, but not on the abdomen.
Tight papery skin, or skin that looks shiny and bright red
Skin that looks like it has been burned or scalded
Slight bleeding of the affected areas
Strong smell of ammonia
In boys, an inflamed penis
If the baby has :
bright red skin with outlined edges, in the folds of the skin,
tiny pus-filled pimples or tiny rashes outside the red area -
this could be a fungal nappy rash
It's a common problem as almost all babies can get nappy rash.
Go to see your doctor if you're worried, especially if the following occurs:
If the rash gets worse after two days of home treatment
or if there is no improvement after four days of home treatment
If there are white patches inside baby's mouth.
If these patches appear red after wiping with a clean cloth,
this could be Thrush
If the rash is elsewhere, such as behind the ears or under the arms
This may be seborrhoeic dermatitis.
If there are blisters in the nappy area that leave shallow red sores
This may be a bacterial infection, e.g. impetigo
In the case of a boy and the penis is swollen and red,
if you cannot retract the foreskin,
or if there is a greenish discharge from the penis
this may be balanitis, an inflammation between the tip of the glans penis and the foreskin
If there is also a fever, this is sign of an infection
If redness, swelling or streaks spread beyond the area of the rash
If there are blisters filled with yellowish fluid that break open,
leaving large red areas, this may be bacterial infection