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Newborn Jaundice (cont.)

Newborn Jaundice Symptoms

Patient Comments

  • As a baby's bilirubin levels rise, jaundice moves from the head to involve the arms, trunk, and finally the legs. If the bilirubin levels are very high, a baby will appear jaundiced below the knees and over the palms of his or her hands. One easy way to check for jaundice is to press a finger against your baby's skin, temporarily pushing the blood out of it. Normal skin will turn white when you do this, but jaundiced skin will stay yellow.
  • Older children and adults will appear jaundiced when the amount of bilirubin in their blood is above 2 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). Newborn babies will begin to appear jaundiced when they have more than 5 mg/dL of bilirubin in their blood. It is important to recognize and treat neonatal jaundice because high levels of bilirubin can cause permanent damage to a baby's brain. This brain damage is called kernicterus. Today, because of increased awareness and effective treatment of neonatal jaundice, kernicterus is extremely rare.
  • Jaundice itself does not produce any clinical symptoms, but the underlying cause may produce the following symptoms:
    • Ill appearance
    • Fever
    • Poor feeding
Medical Editor:

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The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Newborn Jaundice:

Newborns Jaundice - Treatment

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Newborn Jaundice - Symptoms

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Jaundice, Neonatal »

Jaundice is the most common condition that requires medical attention in newborns.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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