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Diaper Rash Relief

Despite your best care  -- frequent diaper changes and the use of a barrier ointment, such as zinc oxide  -- your baby's bottom can still sometimes become red and irritated. Usually, the most effective treatment is to clean the area gently with a mild soap and let your baby go diaperless for a stretch between changings. But if conventional cures don't wipe out the rash, try these alternative treatments that some parents swear by:

HOMEMADE ELIXIR

Mix up equal parts oral Benadryl liquid (not gel or cream) and Mylanta or Maalox, then apply to the rash at each diaper change, suggests Abraham Green, M.D., a pediatrician in Woodmere, NY, who has used the concoction on his own baby. At each diaper change, coat the affected area with the mixture, let dry, then reapply before putting on a new diaper. Dr. Green isn't sure exactly why the two medicines work so well together, but they seem to help keep irritated skin membranes dry so they can heal.

HERBAL SALVE

Oils, lotions, and gels made from calendula flowers (marigolds) can soothe aggravated skin and discourage bacterial growth. Look for products that list calendula as one of the first ingredients and apply liberally at each diaper change.

CAJUN REMEDY

Peruvian balsam, which helps heal broken skin and promotes diaper rash relief, is one of the key ingredients in Boudreaux's Butt Paste, manufactured in Covington, LA. Apply to the infected area three to four times a day. A two-ounce jar, which costs about $6, is available at some Kmart, Walgreens, Wal-Mart, and Eckerd stores.

If a severe diaper rash doesn't improve in a day or two, have your pediatrician examine the rash for a yeast or a secondary bacterial infection, which must be treated with prescription medication.

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