Jaundice

February 8th, 2010 by Giselle Leave a reply »

Jaundice is the yellow colour seen in the skin of many newborn babies and may develop a few days after birth.It is very common thing because some 60 per cent of newborn babies develop jaundice.It is caused by an excess of a chemical called bilirubin in the blood.Bilirubin is removed by the liver,but the immature liver of a newborn baby may need a few days to develop sufficiently to remove it effectively.In most infants,jaundice is mild and harmless.But for those with high levels of bilirubin,it can cause a number of serious problems including brain damage.

How to detect jaundice?

Okay,the best way to check is to look at your baby in a good light.The skin on the face of a jaundiced baby looks yellow and this moves downwards to the chest,tummy,arms and legs as the bilirubin increases.Do check the whites of his eyes because they will appear yellowed if the baby is jaundiced.And the skin in his mouth is a healthy pink.Touch his skin and release it to check the colour.Other early symptoms are tiredness,poor feeding and a high-pitch cry.A routine check is advised within the first week of the baby’s life.

Risk factors

Babies may be more at risk if they are premature or if they have been bruised during child birth or if there is a family history of jaundice.If a baby develops jaundice within 24 hours of birth,he needs to be seen by a doctor urgently.

Treatment

If your baby’s bilirubin level is high,he will need to undergo phototheraphy (where he is put under special lights) which will lower the bilirubin level.For most mild cases,however no treatment is needed and the jaundice will usually dissapear in two or three weeks.If it doesn’t,seek your doctor’s advice.

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