Nappy rash is an inflammation of the skin beneath the nappy that results from contact with urine and feces. Heat also builds up beneath the nappy, which worsens this condition. There are two different types of rash. One is a contact rash and the other is a fungal infection.
Contact rash looks red, irritated and swollen or the skin may be dry and scaly. The rash may appear spotty or blotchy. A fungal infection will cause the skin to be shiny and red. The baby may be irritated by the rash or not. Some are quite painful, while others look like they should be painful but elicit no response from the child at all. Some rashes may be itchy, as is seen when the baby tries to itch the nappy area. Some babies will refuse to wear a nappy due to the irritation.
Nappy rash is usually caused by contact with wet or soiled nappies for a length of time. Urine and feces break down within a fairly short time and release ammonia. When the ammonia is absorbed by the skin, it causes irritation. Some babies will develop a rash from the chemicals in disposable nappies or from detergents used to clean cloth nappies. Some babies may get a rash from food reactions. If you think this is the cause and your baby is breastfed, go over anything that may be different in your diet to find the cause.
A straightforward rash that is left untreated can worsen until the skin is cracked and bleeding. This offers bacteria or fungi the opportunity to enter the bloodstream and begin an infection. Fungal nappy rashes caused by Candida albicans can take advantage of this situation. If you notice your baby has a fever along with their rash, it may have developed into an infection.