Intertrigo PDF Print E-mail
  Administrator   Monday, 09 April 2007
Where skin is folded so that one area of skin is in contact with another, such as under the armpit, or under the chin of a plump baby, the skin be damp much of the time, and can develop a rash. This rash is called intertrigo. It is also sometimes called a heat rash.

Intertrigo

Intertrigo; eczema; dermatitis; thrush; candida; seborrhoeic; skin; rash; heat; candidiasis; heat rash; baby; infant; impetigo; nappy; corn; flour; powder; ;

Contents

Where skin is folded so that one area of skin is in contact with another, such as under the armpit, or under the chin of a plump baby, the skin be damp much of the time, and can develop a rash. This rash is called intertrigo. It is also sometimes called a heat rash.

Alert!
If a child's rash suddenly gets worse, it may be due to an infection. See your doctor as different treatment may be needed.

What does intertrigo look like?

  • Babies and children with intertrigo have red, 'raw', weeping skin in a skin fold such as in the folds of skin under the neck, under the arm, in the nappy area.
  • Unlike nappy rash, the rash is worst inside the fold of skin. In nappy rash, the skin inside a fold is often protected, with the rash worst on the areas touched by the nappy.

What causes intertrigo?

  • Intertrigo occurs when skin stays moist, when the temperature of the skin rises and when there is rubbing on the skin (eg from movement).
  • The moistness can be because of not drying the skin well enough after washing, from sweat or, especially under the chin, from dribbling or frequent spilling.
  • Because the skin has lost its top layer, it is very prone to getting infected with thrush or bacteria (causing an infection like impetigo), and this can make the rash worse. (See the topic 'School sores (impetigo)' for more information about impetigo.)

What you can do

  • The surface of the affected skin is very delicate and sore. It needs to be treated very gently. Even washing it with water can be painful. Using sorbolene to clean the skin may be gentler.
  • Be careful not to rub the skin. Pat it dry carefully, and often.
  • Creams or ointments which protect the skin from moisture, such as those which are used for nappy rash may be helpful. Zinc creams, zinc and cod-liver oil creams and similar can be useful. Check with your chemist (pharmacist) for other useful creams or ointments.
  • Some people recommend using corn flour or other powders to dry the surface of the skin. These might be useful, but they could also hold moisture on the skin and make the rash worse. Some bacteria which cause skin infections feed on cornflour, so it probably best not to use it.
  • If the intertrigo is under the chin of a baby who is dribbling, wearing a bib to catch the dribble can be helpful.
  • If the baby is irritable, it may be due to pain from the rash. Paracetamol may be helpful if the baby is not sleeping well. Do not use ibuprofen for babies under 6 months old. See the topic 'Using paracetamol or ibuprofen'.
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