- Jaundice in babies - when there is no problem
- When infant jaundice needs to be treated
- Treatment of physiological jaundice
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You became a happy mom three days ago. The nurse brings you a baby to feed and you are scared because it is yellow. Relax! This is physiological jaundice that most newborns go through.
Physiological jaundiceaffects up to 80 percent of newborns. The culprit isbilirubin , a yellow substance that is formed from the breakdown of red blood cells. It is a natural and constant process, but in an adult it takes 120 days, and in utero and a newborn after 90 days.
Jaundice in babies - when there is no problem
Bilirubin in the blood of an adult is completely normal. It is captured by liver cells and turned into a harmless (so-called bound), excreted from the body along with urine and feces. Since the newborn's liver cannot do this yet, elevated levels of bilirubin are maintained in the baby's blood for 10-14 days. It is highest on the 4-5th day of life, then it decreases. When the bilirubin level in the blood serum of the newborn is reduced to 1.5-0.7 mg / dl, it can be assumed that the baby has coped with jaundice. If not, it means treatment is needed.Important
Excess bilirubin is dangerous because:
- the body produces less energy substances and proteins
- kidneys poisoned with bilirubin work worse
- the risk of blood clots is gradually increasing
- nerve cells in the brain can be damaged
When infant jaundice needs to be treated
A lot of bilirubin is found in meconium of newborns (this is the intestinal content that is excreted immediately after birth). Prolonged meconium failure may cause the bilirubin to return to the bloodstream. This is when a rectal cleansing enema is needed. However, when the bilirubin level does not go down after a few days, but suddenly increases, it is disturbing.
Therefore, when jaundice appears in the first two days of a newborn's life (bilirubin concentration exceeds 12 mg / dl) or if the yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes persists for 10-14 days, additional tests should be performed.
It may then turn out that it is not a harmless physiological jaundice, but the result of another, much more serious disease:
- generalized infection (i.e. sepsis)
- biliary obstruction (this is jaundicemechanical)
- a serological conflict, which occurs when the baby is rhesus positive and the mother is rhesus negative (this is pathological jaundice).
Treatment of physiological jaundice
In the treatment of physiological jaundice, phototherapy, i.e. exposure to ultraviolet rays, gives good results. Under their influence, bilirubin loses its harmful properties. The naked newborn is placed in a tightly sheltered crib (premature baby - in an incubator) under an ultraviolet lamp. He wears special glasses that look like ski goggles. They fit tightly to the mouth and protect the baby's eyes from radiation.
Phototherapy is interrupted only for the time of feeding and any medical treatment. Additionally, the child gets glucose intravenously. Most often, the effects are visible on the 1-2 day of exposure.
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