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Severe Diaper Rash

Should I Call My Healthcare Provider?

Most rashes get better with home treatment and time. However, you should call your infant's healthcare provider if the rash does not improve after the basic treatment steps are taken. Most diaper rashes are better within three days.
You should also contact your healthcare provider if your child:
  • Is less than one month old and the rash looks like tiny water blisters or pimples in a cluster
  • Has a fever above 100.4ºF or 38ºC
  • Has bloody stool
  • Has a change in the pattern of dirty or wet diapers (such as diarrhea, constipation, or increased urination)
  • Looks or acts very sick.
Or if the rash:
  • Becomes bright red, with red bumps around the diaper area
  • Has grown so that it is now visible in the skin folds
  • Has spread beyond the immediate diaper area
  • Is very raw, bleeds, or develops open sores.

Treating a Severe Diaper Rash

The first key to treating any diaper rash is to know the cause. Is it a standard diaper rash that is just more severe, or is it infected with fungus? Could something else be causing it? If you have a good idea as to the cause, the treatment is generally straightforward.
Treatment involves keeping the area clean, dry, and protected. Most creams or ointments that provide protection can be purchased over-the-counter (OTC) without a prescription. In some cases, however, a prescription may be needed (see Diaper Rash Treatment for specific treatment suggestions).
Most diaper rashes can be treated at home. Just keep in mind when a diaper rash might be more serious and when you should contact your healthcare provider. Remember that your child's healthcare provider knows your child's situation best and is the best source of information for questions and concerns.
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