Many healthy, happy babies leave the hospital every day after being treated for jaundice. This condition is known as hyperbilirubinism, and the skin and the whites of the eyes turn yellow. In the week following birth, it is still possible for a baby to develop jaundice. How? When their tiny bodies do not excrete the bilirubin (substance produced when the liver breaks down old red blood cells) in their stool, the excess shows up in their skin. Of course, your pediatrician at the hospital should check for jaundice; however, some babies just develop it after they leave the hospital. Occasionally, there are babies who have a recurrence of jaundice and have to endure a second treatment. If left untreated, your child could have lasting damage to the brain and central nervous system.
Children can develop jaundice, as well, for the same reason, but under different circumstances. It is normal for a newborn to have jaundice, but a young child who has it may be showing symptoms of something more serious. At Village Pediatrics in Plano, TX, we take all cases of jaundice very seriously, and will help your child get the treatment he or she needs for healthy development or for assessment of why the bilirubin is not being processed correctly in their bodies.
Newborn jaundice is easily treated with phototherapy (blue and purple lights), which can be administered in-office or at home with the right equipment. If your baby develops jaundice after leaving the hospital, call your pediatrician right away, especially if the baby has a fever.
Children and adolescents need to be seen right away if they are showing signs of jaundice. Other symptoms include dark yellow urine and light-colored feces. They will appear to have the flu and not have much energy. At our office, we will run blood tests and give a full physical exam before recommending treatment.
When children and adolescents appear to be jaundiced, there is probably something else wrong. The liver and gall bladder are not processing the bilirubin (substance produced when the liver breaks down old red blood cells) in the body properly. This is not a common childhood illness, and your child needs to see a physician as soon as possible.
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Call our office today and schedule an appointment to be seen if your newborn or child has yellowing of the whites of their eyes and skin. Our experienced pediatric team will do a complete physical exam and order the necessary blood work to get the needed treatment. If it is necessary, our office can see your child the same day as the symptoms are present. We will make every effort to see your child as soon as possible.