Diaper rash - First Aid

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First aid

First aid

Emergency intervention in children

Sunburn in children Diaper rash Febrile seizures The child who does not sleep Acute asthma access Dental trauma Head injury
  • Sunburn in the child
  • Diaper rash
    • The types of diaper rash
    • What to do
  • Febrile seizures
  • The child who does not sleep
  • Acute asthma access
  • Dental trauma
  • Head trauma

Diaper rash

This is an irritation of the skin in the diaper area, buttocks and pubic area (inguinal folds are usually not affected). The skin is reddened, uniformly or with large patches that sometimes join together; there may also be small dots, papules (small, slightly raised rounded formations) or vesicles. The skin appears moist and the child may experience pain when cleaned; sometimes itchy. It is due to prolonged contact with wet and dirty diapers of urine and feces (the enzymes contained in the feces alter the defenses of the skin), the maceration from humidity, the rubbing of the skin on the diaper, the scarce skin transpiration.

Diarrhea, with its acidic stools, can cause intense irritation. Even the simple rubbing of the diaper on the skin and sweating can cause irritation and maceration, especially if the diaper is tight and does not allow the skin to breathe. It is not for nothing that the solution to the problem is facilitated when the baby's bottom is left exposed to the air without the diaper cover.

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The types of diaper rash

The table lists some types of dermatitis that can affect the diaper area. Irritative dermatitis is certainly the most frequent; it is often trivial and resolves in a few days, and generally the child does not experience much discomfort. However, it can be complicated by infection of irritated skin by bacteria and fungi.

Among fungi, Candida albicans is the one that most frequently overlaps with an irritative dermatitis, causing it to worsen significantly. The skin then has very red patches, with a halo around it and also characterized by vesicles or pustules. In the surrounding areas there are small, slightly raised rounded lesions (papules), with eroded skin, which spread from the diseased areas. The lesions are also found on the skin of the inguinal folds (area between the pubis and the initial part of the thighs). In simple irritative dermatitis, in general, the skin is not red in these areas. It is easier to suspect a superimposed Candida infection when the child also has thrush (Candida albicans mouth infection). However, it is necessary to consult the pediatrician when diaper rash does not resolve within 4-5 days or worse despite following the indicated hygiene rules.

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What to do

  • It is important to change the diaper often. Wash the irritated area with warm running water keeping it as clean as possible. Dry by dabbing gently (you can also resort to the warm air jet of the hair dryer).
  • Create a comfortable ambient temperature situation and leave the baby without a diaper for as long as possible, so that the skin can remain dry. Do not over tighten the diaper to ensure some ventilation.
  • If the measurement has become too small, switch to the larger one immediately. In the hot season, you can leave your baby without a diaper, protecting the cot with padded sleepers that have excellent absorbency and that can be purchased in health care stores or pharmacies.
  • Some preparations based on zinc oxide and emollient substances can be useful to soothe pain and burning and protect the skin from short contact with urine and feces. Even preparations based on emollient creams can soothe the child's ailments.

However, nothing is more valid than keeping the skin dry and clean! It is good not to use disinfectants such as boric acid, which is absorbed by irritated skin and can be toxic, and preparations containing drugs unless directed by the pediatrician.

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