The accumulation of bilirubin in the blood is what causes jaundice among children. Bilirubin is a yellowish substance that is produced on the breakdown of red blood cells. It is either its overproduction or the failure of the body to excrete it, which results in jaundice.
While it is normal for infants to be afflicted by jaundice in the first few weeks month, it is necessary to take his/her extreme care in such circumstances and provide good medical attention. The presence of jaundice in older children is a more pressing issue. While it in itself impairs a child’s health grievously, its existence may also reflect graver disease.
Kinds of Jaundice -
There are different kinds of jaundice that might afflict a child. They are given below:
- Hemolytic Jaundice: It is the most common type of jaundice found among children. It is caused due to the abnormal rate of the breakup of red blood cells in the body.
- Obstructive Jaundice: Due to the blockage of the bile duct between the pancreas and the liver, the excess bile stays put in the blood and induces obstructive jaundice.
- Hepatocellular Jaundice: It is generally caused due to infection in the liver or any other damage in the liver.
Causes of Jaundice in infant -
The inability of babies’ liver to defect bilirubin is what causes jaundice generally among them. Apart from it, myriad reasons can cause jaundice in infants as follows
- If the baby is not receiving the appropriate amount of milk from the mother, then he or she may suffer from breastfeeding jaundice.
- Akin to children, the excessive breakup of red blood cells also causes jaundice in infants.
- Deficiency of Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G-6-PD) enzyme in an infant’s body may make the infant more prone to jaundice.
- The Gilbert syndrome which is a genetic disorder found in a small percentage of newborn babies may increase the severity of jaundice in babies.
Jaundice among babies may also be an indicator of graver disease as cholestasis or biliary atresia.
Causes of jaundice in children -
Jaundice may occur among children because of any of the following reasons
- Due to the buildup of gallstones in the gallbladder that obstruct bile excretion.
- Epstein Barr virus that transmits through bodily fluids accelerate jaundice
- Hepatitis A, B, C, or any other virus infection that might damage liver cells.
- As a result of cirrhosis disease, which causes a spurt of scar tissue in the liver in place of soft tissue
- In the case of cirrhosis disease wherein copper from food accumulates and build up in the liver
- Hemolytic anemia may also cause jaundice in children.
Symptoms of Jaundice in children -
The most evident symptoms of jaundice are yellowish skin and dull pale eyes. It also affects the color of urine and stool. The presence of unusual bruises relays the health of the liver and jaundice patients usually showcase those scars on the skin. Apart from it, erratic fever, fatigue, nausea, and stomach pain are common indicators of jaundice ailment.
Diagnosis of Jaundice -
Jaundice can be diagnosed only by a clinical expert. If your child is showing any of the aforementioned symptoms, try to take him to the nearest hospital as soon as possible.
Usually, jaundice is diagnosed through the following methods:
- Physical examination - Usually the doctors try to affirm jaundice by looking for spider nevus. They are a collection of small dilated blood vessels under the surface of the skin. Their presence conveys signs of liver disease usually which is a symbiotic symptom of jaundice. Apart from it, the intonation of palm color and swelling of the liver is also tested.
- Through a thorough blood test, jaundice can be recognized in a body.
- Urinal Analysis is another method, through use the presence of jaundice can be detected.
- A screening test is usually done when your child has anemia as well. Coombs test is usually performed to determine whether an autoimmune condition is the root cause of jaundice or not.
How to treat jaundice in children?
Babies whose condition are not severe, do not require any additional treatment. Routine breastfeeding is the best way to do away with jaundice in such a case. Caution should be exercised by parents while taking the infant outdoors. It is best not to expose it to direct sunlight for two weeks.
In case the baby is suffering from serious jaundice he is provided with treatment by the pediatric specialist in the following ways:
- Phototherapy: This method assists in the excretion of excessive bile in an infant body.
- Blood exchange transfusion: When the risk of kernicterus is high, this mode of treatment is applied to cleanse the bilirubin from the bloodstream.
In case if the newly born child is suffering from biliary atresia, a condition wherein bile transfusion is obstructed to flow into the intestine from the liver, surgery is required.
In older children, jaundice is treated after taking into consideration the overall condition of child health, the disease severity, and per the symptoms displayed.
- Generally, antibiotics are recommended to cure jaundice.
- Immunosuppressive agents are prescribed for treating autoimmune hepatitis.
- An intake of adequate fluids is recommended highly.
- In case the child was intaking medicines that were hepatoxic, those are discontinued.
- Surgery is recommended in case of obstructive jaundice.
- A blood transfusion may also be referred to in the case of hemolytic jaundice.
Home care and Remedies -
Children with jaundice need to be looked after with caution and adequate care. Newborn babies can be looked after fairly easily. Keep the baby well fed. Expose the baby to morning sunlight every alternative day.
Parents can look after an older child by heeding the following advice:
- Ensure that the child remains hydrated. Provide him hydrating fluids.
- See to it that your child takes the prescribed medicines from time to time.
- Feed him enzyme-rich fruits as mangoes and papaya and high fiber food.
- Incorporate veggies in diet and add milk to their daily routine. Some children are lactose intolerant in such cases opt for vegan milk.
- Try to coax your child to avoid sugary stuff.
Jaundice can be cured within two weeks or so. Usually, infant jaundice passes away within an even shorter period. If the condition is severe the treatment tenure may last longer. To prevent jaundice from afflicting your child once again, take preventive measures. Monitor the child’s diet properly to ensure it has all the proper nutrients. Make sure your kid intake eight glasses of water. Also, encourage your child to engage in physical activity. Health is the most important wealth. As a parent, it is your responsibility to look after your child well being.