Staph and Strep Diaper Rash: Contagiousness, Symptoms, Treatment and Images

Most babies get diaper rash, especially during their first year of life. Although not considered a serious condition, diaper rash can prove a source of great discomfort and pain. In fact, it can become serious when staph or strep infection is involved.

You can recognize diaper rash from its signs and symptoms. They include redness or pinkness, irritation, swelling, soreness and bumps. Specific symptoms depend on the severity of the condition. For instance, a mild diaper rash only causes pinkness and perhaps some papules. Moderate to severe diaper rash is characterized by redness, skin dryness, pustules and inflammation. Your baby may also show signs of discomfort and pain.

Common causes of diaper rash include irritation, wetness, diarrhea, new foods, and yeast overgrowth. Regardless, a rash in diaper area can be caused by staphylococcus or streptococcus bacteria. This article describes staph and strep diaper rash with pictures for illustration.

Staph infection diaper rash symptoms and causes


Staph infection diaper rash symptoms are not very different from a staph infection somewhere else in the body. Normally, such an infection is characterized by pain, redness, swelling and drainage of pus. When left untreated, the infection can reach blood system and result in symptoms such as a fever, chills and drop in blood pressure.

Staph infection in the diaper area causes a disease known as impetigo. The disease causes affected areas to appear blustered and crusty. The blisters caused by a staph infection are usually pus-filled and tend to rupture easily. After rupturing, a honey-colored crust forms over.  See staph infection diaper rash pictures and compare with diaper rash blisters pictures.


Staphylococcus aureus is responsible for staph infections. Most people carry the bacteria on their skin without showing signs of infection. When there are flaws or discontinuities on the skin, the bacteria can easily reach superficial tissue. The warm, nutritious and moist conditions in soft tissues allow the bacteria to form colonies and in the process cause infection.

A staph infection is highly contagious. Your baby can pick it up from you or another person during direct contact. It can also be passed through clothes or personal items. This is why moms are advised to wash their hands before and after diaper changes. Cloth diapers should also be thoroughly washed. Since some washing detergents can cause irritation and further worsen diaper rash, you can consider using apple cider vinegar when washing cloth diapers.

Staph diaper rash treatment

Before treatment, diagnosis may require to be done by sampling a culture. This is to be done by a doctor.

Staph diaper rash treatment and prevention is done in the following ways:

  • Use of antibiotics – antibiotics are the primary treatment options for bacterial infections. Mild infections are treated with antibiotic ointments or creams. Severe cases require oral and sometimes, but rarely, IV antibiotics.
  • Topical breast milk application – breast milk soothes irritated skin. It also contains antibodies which may promote skin healing. To use breast milk for staph diaper rash, apply it topically all over affected areas. You can use raw, thawed or frozen breast milk. Breastfed babies grow stronger immune systems and are therefore able to better withstand bacterial invasions.
  • Taking probiotics – probiotics are believed to aid in growth of good bacteria. Taking them during a staph infection may shorten recovery period.
  • Essential oils – most essential oils have the ability to stop bacterial growth. Good examples include tea tree oil, coconut oil and oregano oil.
  • Use of clean diapers – when dealing with a staph infection, you can consider using disposable diapers until the infection is gone. If not, ensure to disinfect with chlorine free bleach, apple cider vinegar or grapefruit seed extract.

Strep diaper rash symptoms and causes

Strep diaper rash results from a skin infection called impetigo. It is usually caused by staphylococcus bacteria but can also be caused by streptococcus bacteria group A.

Strep diaper rash symptoms include bright redness and a rash with well defined borders on buttocks, mostly around the anus. A severe rash may extend to the perineum. In fact, severe rash can cause pain or discomfort when passing stool. This occurs when blisters in the anus rupture to form sores.

Strep infections are highly contagious. Contagiousness is through contaminated air, such as when a patient coughs or sneezes. It is for this reason that incidence rate is higher in schools and other congested areas.

It is not common for diaper rash in adults symptoms to be caused by strep infections. Regardless, a strep diaper rash contagious infection can easily be picked from a patient. The transmitted infection may not necessarily cause diaper rash but other issues such as strep throat or cellulitis.

Strep diaper rash treatment

Like in the case of staph diaper rash, diagnosis will be required before strep diaper rash treatment. If your doctor is not convinced after physical examination, culture sampling will be done.

Treatment is primarily done with antibiotics. The severity of infection will determine which form of medications will be used.

At home, you can try the following remedies:

  • Essential oils – essential oils such as coconut oil and tea tree oil have been shown to have antibacterial properties. Applying them directly to affected areas may help stop bacterial growth and therefore quicken recovery. Using essential oils for diaper rash comes with the advantage of the fact that your baby’s skin will also stay hydrated.
  • Probiotics – probiotics are said to promote growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. This may prevent issues such as diarrhea and overgrowth of yeast in the diaper region. Diarrhea and yeast overgrowth are among the common causes of diaper rash and can make an existing bout worse.
  • Breast milk – most mothers are familiar with the many benefits of breast milk when applied topically. In the case of diaper rash, breast milk helps soothe irritated skin and also promotes healing of broken skin.
  • Apple cider vinegar – apple cider vinegar is an antibacterial remedy. It renders conditions not conducive for bacterial growth when applied topically.
  • Aloe vera – aloe vera is one of the most popular natural remedies for treatment of different skin conditions. It is a skin soother and has antimicrobial properties. For best results, use raw gel directly from aloe vera leaves.
  • Honey – honey has been used for centuries to treat burns, cuts and sores. It also reduces pain and may promote healing.
  • Baking soda – yeast and bacterial infections in the diaper region respond very well to treatment with baking soda. The remedy can be applied directly or used in baths.
  • Cornstarch – cornstarch works by reducing moisture content in diaper region and also reducing friction. Cornstarch for diaper rash treatment is more recommendable compared to talc since the latter is more airborne and may cause breathing problems.

Teething diaper rash remedies can help if diarrhea is involved. Since diarrhea sometimes causes blistering diaper rash, it can encourage bacterial infections. Another way to prevent diaper rash due to diarrhea is avoiding foods that cause diaper rash in toddlers.

Bacterial diaper rash vs yeast infection

When diaper rash is resulting from a bacterial infection, it may present with some symptoms of yeast overgrowth. Below are characteristics of yeast infection in the diaper region that may help differentiate between the two.

Yeast diaper rash usually develops on areas in contact with diaper. If the rash has the following characteristics, it most likely is resulting from yeast infection.

Red rash:

Diaper rash is normally red. The difference between normal rash and one due to yeast overgrowth is that the latter is bold and contained within slightly raised well defined border.

Bumps and skin dryness:

The bumps show up on raised skin areas by rash borders. They are sometimes referred to as “satellite lesions.” You might also notice some skin dryness characterized by scaling or flaking.

Starts in skin folds:

Since yeast grows best in warm and moist areas, yeast diaper rash often begins in skin folds. A baby girl diaper rash can extend to the vagina and labia. In boys, a diaper rash on the penis and scrotum due to a yeast infection can occur. Unlike the normal diaper rash you may be used to, yeast diaper rash does not go away easily. Antifungal creams are usually necessary to completely get rid of the rash.

What causes diaper rash in newborns? Other than yeast and bacteria, other causes include:

  • diarrhea
  • wetness
  • irritation
  • allergic reaction
  • friction