Jaundice is a common condition in new born babies. It appears in the first few weeks after the baby is born, there is no specific cause for jaundice, and mostly it clears on its own. Jaundice is caused by a yellow (pigment) called bilirubin.
Jaundice occurs when there is a high level of bilirubin which cannot be removed faster enough. If the level becomes high, the buildup bilirubin makes the skin and the white part of the eye to appear yellow.
Types of jaundice
It’s common with new born babies
This is when the bilirubin cannot be removed faster enough, mostly it goes away by the time the baby is 2 weeks old but if it persist, medical attention is needed.
This can be caused by various disorders such as infections, endocrine or genetic diseases. It can keep the liver from processing bilirubin as it should. This problem have to be found and treated.
Some health problem that can cause persistent jaundice are
- Blood type mismatch
- Blood cell diseases
- Endocrine(hormonal) disorders
- Genetic diseases
- Conditions that block the flow of bile out of the river
Infants who have a risk of getting jaundice
Premature babies: when a baby is born before maturity dates (37 weeks and below) the liver is not fully developed to clear the bilirubin as fast as it should.
Breastfed babies: If the baby is unable to breastfeed well or the mother is not able to produce enough milk, the baby might not have bowel movement which clears away bilirubin. This is called breastfeed jaundice.
Bruised at birth.
Symptoms of jaundice
Yellowish skin and eyes, dark urine and pale stool.
Treatment of Jaundice
Photo therapy is done to treat jaundice where by a child is exposed to a special blue light( bili light) that causes a chemical reaction with the skin that lets the body remove bilirubin more through urine and stool.
For those with mild jaundice can expose their children to early morning sunlight and also late evening sun light. For those with severe jaundice and the bili light have not cured, they might need blood transfusion but on rare occasions.
When to see a doctor if
- The skin is turning more yellow
- Fussing and irritable
- Poor feeding
- Loosing of weight
- Sleepy than usual
- Weak or inactive.
Key points in jaundice are:-
- It’s common in new born infants
- It’s temporary and harmless
- Rarely jaundice in babies is life threatening
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