Treating Adult Diaper Rash
When caring for a patient or loved one wearing adult pull ups or diapers it is of the highest importance to treat diaper rash at the first signs that it is starting. Any rash from adult pull ups or diapers can quickly become a very serious problem.
Diaper rashes can quickly become skin sores which are very painful, dangerous, and difficult to heal. Of course, the best way to treat adult diaper rash is to avoid it in the first place.
Therefore, when caring for someone wearing adult pull ups or diapers make sure you are creating a CLEAN environment that reduces all three of these potential culprits, HEAT, MOISTURE, and FRICTION. Sometimes, however, despite the best of care, a person using adult pull ups or diapers develops diaper rash. You will find that many of the steps for treating a diaper rash are similar to your normal preventative routine to reduce HEAT, MOISTURE, and FRICTION.
1) Treat diaper rash at its earliest onset. The faster the treatment, the faster the cure.
2) If the diaper rash occurs while using cloth diapers, switch to disposable adult pull ups or diapers. Disposable adult diapers are designed to wick irritating moisture away from the patient’s skin. This wicking process reduces MOISTURE and is something that cloth adult diapers are unable to do. Also, traces of detergent in cloth diapers may also act as an irritant to the skin. Also, beware of the plastic pants required over cloth diapers which actually increase HEAT inside the diaper, speeding bacteria growth and skin break down.
3) There are specially manufactured adult pull ups and diapers with repair cream added right in. These often have some of the highest absorbency capacity which reduces MOISTURE.
4) Be sure that the adult pull ups or diapers fit well. A good fit keeps FRICTION (the rubbing of the adult underwear or brief against the wearer’s skin) to a minimum.
5) Make sure you are using adult pull ups or diapers with a high enough absorbency to have the most effective “wicking” of MOISTURE away from the wearer’s skin.
6) Remember to keep up with frequent changes & properly cleanse and dry the skin. This may mean an additional change in the night. These steps reduce MOISTURE n the adult pull ups or diapers.
7) Clean the diaper area with pure water or a healing cleanser and a soft cloth. Pat dry and if possible don’t put the adult pull ups or diapers right back on the patient. Instead, allow for some “air time” to decrease MOISTURE and take advantage of the healing benefits of air. Putting an underpad (also called “chucks”) under the patient while getting “air time” can keep this process from getting too messy. A blow dryer used cautiously on a very low setting can assist with an even more thorough drying.
8) If the diaper area is very soiled, a mild healing cleanser can be used. Many of these are no-rinse cleansers that you can leave of the skin. If you need to rinse make sure you are rinsing thoroughly using pure water. Some people like to use a solution of 1 oz. vinegar per 1 gallon of clean water for the final rinse. This mild solution shifts the affected area’s ph balance, making the environment difficult for irritating yeast to multiply.
9) Soaking in a warm water bath or a sitz bath several times a day can also offer relief. A couple of tablespoons of baking soda added to the sitz bath can assist the healing process and give temporary soothing.
10) Do NOT use cornstarch as a powder because it actually feeds yeast, making it multiply rapidly.
11) Before putting patients back into adult pull ups or diapers be sure to liberally apply a zinc oxide, A & D ointment or other high quality barrier cream or skin repair cream to the affected area. This will act as a MOISTURE barrier and speed healing.
12) Avoid use of ointments containing hydro-cortisone or an antibiotic like neomycin. A normal adult diaper rash will not be helped or healed by their use.
13) Encourage the patient to increase their fluid intake, particularly of water or cranberry juice. Their urine will be less concentrated and less irritating to their skin. Keep in mind that you want a “normal” diaper rash to clear up within three days with good hygienic care. If it lasts longer, see a physician to ensure that the condition is not something more serious than a simple rash. Possibilities such as a more complex bacteria or yeast infection, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, seborrhea or an allergic reaction should be ruled out by a doctor.