Diapers are an integral part of clothing for babies and are similar to underpants. They catch the excrement and are then washed or disposed of. The diaper is necessary until the growing child can safely control the excretion independently. Diapers are also used in adult incontinent patients.
Nowadays, diapers are mostly disposable diapers that are extremely absorbent and can collect both urine and stool.
The diaper is a highly absorbent body that has the shape of underpants and is wrapped around the abdomen. It replaces the underwear and is disposed of as soon as the wearer has passed stool or urine.
Today's disposable diaper is almost a century old. In the past, cloth diapers were used which, for hygienic reasons, were boiled at high temperatures after use. As this was time-consuming, diapers were often used only rarely.
Nowadays, diapers are mostly disposable diapers that are extremely absorbent and can collect both urine and stool. They are mostly used on babies and young children. As a further variant for baby hygiene, there are swim diapers for children.
Comatose or aging patients also need diapers for a short time or permanently because they cannot control their excretions independently or with sufficient confidence. People with paraplegia are also dependent on diapers for life. In these cases, diapers are classified as incontinence hygiene.
Basically, diapers can be divided into disposable and reusable diapers.The reusable diaper is made of fabric and has Velcro fasteners and snaps so that it is similar in structure to the disposable diaper. However, it is washed after use and cleaned with the hot wash.
The far more common manifestation is the disposable diaper, which has now almost completely replaced the cloth diaper. Disposable diapers are only used once and consist of an outer shell made of polyethylene and the extremely absorbent core. Nowadays, polymer salts are mostly used for this, as they are able to absorb many times their own material volume.
Due to scientific developments, diapers for babies are no longer as thick as they were a few decades ago, they bind odors very effectively and sometimes do not leak for many hours. The absorbent layer of the diaper is also treated with substances such as paraffin or petroleum jelly to ensure that the liquid cannot leak out of the core again.
While the variant for babies and toddlers is called a diaper, the variant for elderly or patient care is called Protective pants. There are also special shapes for the respective area of application, for example waterproof swim diapers or even more absorbent diapers for the night.
Nowadays, disposable and reusable diapers only differ from one another in terms of material. Both have a super absorber in the area of the intimate zone as the core of the diaper, which is put on as tightly as necessary. The rest of the diaper, either made of fabric or tear-resistant, thin polyethylene, is used for fastening. Cloth diapers have Velcro fasteners and press studs for this purpose, and diapers for single use use sturdy adhesive strips.
If the patient has to pass stool or urine, liquid components flow directly into the diaper core and are immediately bound by the polymer salts there. Protection against leakage is provided by the diaper coating in the genital area, which prevents liquid components from leaving the superabsorbent.
Cloth diapers, on the other hand, can leak if they are too full for too long and the material is no longer absorbent. The diaper is then changed and replaced by a new diaper after cleaning the genital area. In this way, the genital area remains clean even if the patient cannot control his excretions on his own or not completely on his own.
Special forms of the diaper also offer this protection, for example, if the wearer cannot go to the toilet due to their work (for example astronauts, racing cyclists, and more rarely doctors during extremely long surgical interventions).
The diaper enables a far more hygienic everyday situation for people who are not able to control their elimination mechanism to the effect that they go to the toilet in time. While adults could still report if something went wrong, babies and toddlers cannot. The diaper is not a hygienic problem if it is changed frequently enough and even creates a more hygienic everyday life.
In order to prevent health problems from the diaper, it must be changed sufficiently often: at least after the last elimination, in babies sometimes even every two hours. The coverage of the health aspect differs significantly between babies and adults. For adults, quick cleaning when changing diapers and thorough showering or bathing on a daily basis is often sufficient. Babies, on the other hand, have very sensitive skin that can be attacked by aggressive waste. For this reason, every time the diaper is changed, thorough cleaning with water or a damp cloth is carried out. In addition, there are diaper creams especially for infants that protect the skin or counteract deterioration with existing irritations with panthenol or zinc.
A special case is diaper rash, which can occur in babies: this requires consistent treatment with suitable diaper creams. Since no health problems are to be feared with correct care of the diaper area and sufficiently frequent change of the diaper, diapers are the best way to achieve a normal everyday life in incontinent patients from a nursing point of view and to maintain hygiene despite the lack of control over the excretions of the body.