Understanding Jaundice

Jaundice is an often little understood condition that is found in most newborn children. For new parents this can be a scary proposition but can, fortunately, be taken care of quickly and safely. For adults with jaundice, it can simply be scary.

What is Jaundice?

Jaundice is a condition that creates a yellow pigment in a person’s skin, mucous membranes and the white in eyes. Most newborns have at least minor jaundice. The yellow pigment is created by bilirubin. This is a byproduct of dead red blood cells.

The normal human body processes about 1% of its red blood cells every day. These cells are processed in the liver and leave the body through normal waste paths.

When the human liver is unable to process the dead cells fast enough bilirubin begins to accumulate and cause the yellow tint.

Newborn Jaundice

Newborns are recovering from birth. The amount of dead blood cells is simply too much for their undeveloped livers to handle. Bilirubin begins to accumulate quickly.

Depending on how strenuous childbirth was, newborns may face several days with the effects of jaundice. Premature babies are at the highest risk for jaundice.

Not until the baby is eating and stooling …

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