Jaundice is yellowing in the skin and eyes due to the high bilirubin level.
What is bilirubin?
Bilirubin is a yellow pigment produced after the normal breakdown of the red blood cells and the liver gets rid of it.
Most of the newly born infants especially who are born before the 37th week their liver don’t complete, and can’t get rid of the bilirubin so they have jaundice.
Causes of jaundice in newborn:
- The premature birth before 37 weeks of gestation and this type of jaundice recovers normally within 3 weeks.
- Different blood types of mother and infant that cause antibodies formation lead to breakdown of Rbcs.
- Non breastfeeding or inadequate amount of breastfeeding.
- If the infant got a bruise during birth.
- Viral infection.
- Hereditary liver diseases or diseases that cause breakdown of red blood cells.
Causes of jaundice in older children:
- All types of hepatitis.
- Hepatocellular carcinoma or pancreatic cancer.
- Hemolytic anemia.
- Epstein-barr virus which is transmitted through saliva of infected one even by using his toothbrush or drinking from his cub.
Symptoms of jaundice in newborn:
- Yellow skin color.
- Yellow eye conjunctiva.
- Dark brown urine.
- Pale stool color.
Diagnosis of jaundice:
- Case history: If the baby was born early or non breastfeeding feeding.
- Clinical signs: yellowing of skin and eyes.
- Laboratory test: measuring the level of bilirubin in blood or urine.
Treatment of jaundice:
Treatment of jaundice is differ according to cause:
- If the cause is the premature birth, it will be treated normally within 2-3 weeks (the blue light is a good treatment as it helps in the breakdown of bilirubin.
- If the cause is the baby bottle or inadequate breastfeeding, you should try to feed your infant about (10-12) times daily.
- If the cause is viral infection, you should ask the doctor about the medication.
- If the cause is the difference in blood type, the baby may need blood transfusion.
Normal level of bilirubin in blood:
The normal level about 1 mg/dl:
- If the cause is the premature birth the level increases within 2-4 of birth and may reach 5mg/dl.
- If the cause is the breastfeeding the level increases within 5-7 days and the level varies between 12-20 mg/dl.
- If the cause is another disease the level increases within 24 hours and the level is about 5 mg/dl and still increasing.
- September 2021
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