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Jaundice and its complications in newborns

Jaundice is common in newborns in Indiana. It is not a condition itself but rather a symptom of the child having too much bilirubin in the blood, which may be a sign of other medical issues. Typically, though, according to UpToDate, jaundice is not serious and will go away on its own. However, in some cases, it can be a dangerous situation that requires medical intervention.

The condition causes yellowing of the whites of the eyes and the skin. It can be difficult to recognize it in children with darker skin tones and babies who are not opening their eyes or if it appears after birth gradually, but a blood test can be done to get definitive results. All babies should be checked for the condition before going home. If jaundice is found, parents are usually given instructions for home care to help cure the condition. This may include exposing the baby to sunlight and ensuring the baby is eating enough.  

According to Merck Manuals, complications can arise if bilirubin levels are too high or rise too fast in the blood. Liver disorders, thyroid problems or infections can lead to serious situations where jaundice is not normal and requires care. If left untreated, a baby could suffer brain damage due to too high bilirubin levels. Other possible complications include hearing loss and cerebral palsy.

It is important that parents and doctors stay vigilant about jaundice that is noticed at birth. Treatment and monitoring of the condition can help to avoid serious complications that lead to lifelong medical issues.

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