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What is a Fungal Diaper Rash?

By Nat Robinson
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A fungal diaper rash is a skin irritation that babies who wear diapers get. In most cases, the rash appears around the genital areas. The upper thighs and buttocks may get infected with the rash as well. Fungal diaper rash is typically caused by a yeast and more precisely a distinctive type of fungi known as candida albicans. Whether a baby has a mild or severe diaper rash, prompt attention should be given to the skin irritation.

Generally, a fungal diaper rash is caused by a skin yeast infection. The infection is usually caused by an overgrowth of a fungi called candida albicans. This fungi is overwhelmingly common and grows best in dark, moist and warm places such as a baby's diaper. Chronic diarrhea, the introduction of solids into a baby's diaper and infrequent diaper changes can also greatly contribute to the condition. Often, this type of rash will begin in creases in the baby's skin and spread.

Bright red discolored areas on the baby's skin may be one of the first fungal diaper rash symptoms. The skin may also have a raised or puffy appearance. Sometimes, the skin can even look scaly. A severe diaper rash may have more profound symptoms such as pus-filled sores, blisters and extremely large bumps. Parents may also notice the baby scratching the infected areas quite intensively.

In addition, parents may notice some changes in the way the baby behaves. For instance, a baby with a diaper rash may resist having his or her diaper changed. He or she may also whine more so than usual when being bathed. This is generally due to the infected area being very sensitive to touch. Parents should pay close attention to these symptoms and look for any signs of the rash worsening, a fever or significant spreading of the irritation.

Often, a doctor may be able to diagnose a fungal diaper rash based on its appearance. Although it may not as commonly be done with babies, a fungal skin rash can be tested by scraping areas of the infected skin and examining the sample under a microscope. When needed, this is typically one of the most accurate ways to diagnose a fungal rash.

Doctors will customarily prescribe an anti-fungal cream as a fungal diaper rash remedy, and some babies may also be given a diaper rash ointment. Babies who are repeatedly scratching themselves may be given a hydrocortisone cream that is generally very mild. Parents of babies with a diaper rash will need to change the baby's diaper as soon as they notice it is soiled. It will also be important to gently cleanse the irritated area and allow it to completely dry. In addition, it will be important for a diaper changer to wash his or her hands thoroughly after each change to prevent further spreading of the rash.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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