Infant jaundice is a common condition affecting newborns. It is indicated by a discoloration or yellowish tint of the skin and iris of the eyes. Jaundice in an infant can be traced to excess bilirubin in the blood. Infant jaundice usually affects babies born before 38 weeks. The infant liver at this stage is not developed enough to handle the metabolism of bilirubin which starts accumulating in the bloodstream. In some instances, an underlying disease may cause jaundice. A simple way to check whether your child is affected by jaundice is by pressing the skin of the forehead and nose gently. If the skin appears yellow, you child may have jaundice. It is advisable to consult a doctor if you suspect any of the symptoms. In some instances, jaundice may be caused due to the incompatibility of the Rh factor in the blood groups of the mother and child. Antibodies developed in the mother's blood enter the child's bloodstream through the placenta, they start breaking down the red blood cells resulting in accumulation of bilirubin. Although complications are rare, a high bilirubin level associated with severe infant jaundice may cause brain damage. Treatment of infant jaundice is restricted to phototherapy in most cases. Mild to moderate jaundice dissipates within 2 to 3 weeks with exposure to light. The light transforms the molecules of bilirubin so that they can be easily excreted from the body. In very rare cases, when phototherapy and other non-invasive methods fail to produce the desired result, an infant may require a blood transfusion.
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