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What is newborn diaper rash?

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Quick Answer

A newborn diaper rash consists of waxy, irritated red patches on the bottom of a young infant. The condition is typically caused by bacterial infections, leaving soiled diapers on for too long, allergic reactions, rubbing of a diaper against a baby's skin or a skin condition called seborrheic dermatitis.

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Full Answer

Most babies suffer from diaper rash at some time during infancy. The condition usually clears up on its own without treatment, and it may present itself on other parts of a baby's body. It most often occurs in older babies, between 9 months and 1 year old. It also tends to occur when babies begin eating solid food, have diarrhea or take antibiotics. If a mother is on antibiotics during nursing, they may seep into the breast milk and cause the rash too.

Treating diaper rash involves checking and changing a baby's diaper often and using only plain water or a gentle cleanser to cleanse the baby's bottom. The irritated area should be patted dry rather than rubbed with a cloth, and it should be completely dry before another diaper is put on. Changing the type of diapers used can sometimes improve the condition. A doctor should be consulted if diaper rash does not get better within a few days or if the infant has a fever, a swollen or red rash with white lesions, small pimples near the diapered area or fluid-filled bumps.

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