see also Jaundice
Many babies, especially babies born before term, develop a yellowish tinge within 2-3 days of birth due to immaturity of liver, which cannot process the yellow pigment bilirubin (a by-product of continuous breakdown of red blood cells) fast enough. Both skin and white of eyes turn yellow, and baby may become lethargic and half-hearted about feeding; in an otherwise healthy baby, jaundice fades after a few days. Standard treatment is to give baby plenty to drink to flush out excess bilirubin; if bilirubin level remains high, baby may be exposed to ultraviolet light to make bilirubin water soluble so kidneys can eliminate it (there is a risk of very high bilirubin levels causing brain damage); in very severe cases, baby may need a blood transfusion.
In a few cases, jaundice may be due to haemolytic Anaemia caused by rhesus incompatibility (baby’s red blood cells come under attack from mother's antibodies) or bile duct atresia; former is referred to as haemolytic jaundice, and appears within 24 hours of birth; latter is known as obstructive jaundice, and usually onsets a week or so after birth, accompanied by Diarrhoea and loss of weight. Haemolytic jaundice may require a blood transfusion, or no treatment at all, but outlook for obstructive jaundice is poor unless bile ducts can be surgically repaired.
Specific remedies to be given every 2 hours for up to 10 doses when first signs of jaundice appear
- First choice Chamomilla 30c
- If Chamomilla is not effective Mercurius 30c
- If jaundice is due to rhesus incompatibility Crotalus 30c