To treat simple diaper rash or ammonia rash, keep your baby as dry as possible, changing diapers frequently, even if they are only slightly wet, and avoid any airtight coverings. If you favor cloth diapers, use double diapers during the daytime. Triple diapers at night. Put a pad under the baby and let him lie undiapered sometimes, if possible. Wash the diaper area with plain water each time you change your baby, and apply a protective cream or ointment such as petroleum jelly, zinc oxide, or vitamin A&D ointment, or an ointment combining zinc oxide, cod liver oil, petroleum, and lanolin. Use only one type of ointment at a time, unless your doctor has instructed you to use more than one. Do not dust the baby’s skin with cornstarch, a remedy that used to be recommended, it has been found to encourage the growth of fungi. Try a different brand of laundry soap on cloth diapers and do not use fabric softener on every wash load, because your baby may be sensitive to buildup of the product. Give cloth diapers a try if you are using disposables, or switch brands; and try disposables if you are using cloth diapers. Cut down on the use of powders and oils for your baby, and be sure that any you use are mild and non-allergenic. If you are using colored toilet tissue to clean your baby’s genital area, switch to plain white.

An allergic rash from foods or drugs is more likely to occur in an older baby who is eating several different kinds of foods, or perhaps taking some kind of medication than one who is fed only on breast milk or formula. The treatment is to stop giving any new foods, beverages, or medicines started within the past month, and then to give the child one of these items each week. If one causes the rash to return, the culprit has been found and can be eliminated permanently. Remember to consult your doctor before starting or stopping medication.

Treat a rash caused by an infection or contagious disease by washing the diaper area with soap and water and frequently applying an antibiotic ointment, such as bacitricin, or neomycin. If your baby has any other symptom of illness, such as fever or loss of appetite, if the diaper rash is spreading or severe, or if it gets worse after two days of home treatment, see your doctor. He or she may identify the rash by appearance or may culture or scrape the rash to identify bacteria or fungi. The doctor may prescribe a medicated ointment.

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