Phototherapy treats jaundice in a newborn.
Jaundice occurs when a substance called bilirubin builds up in the blood. Jaundice can make a newborn's skin and eyes look yellow.
Very high bilirubin levels can cause serious problems. That's why treatment is very important.
The baby is exposed to a special type of light. This light is absorbed by the baby's skin. When this happens, the bilirubin changes to another form. It can then come out of the body in the baby's stool and urine.
Your baby may need to stay under this light for several days.
The doctor will do things to protect your baby's eyes and will check the baby's temperature. The doctor will also watch to make sure your baby's skin stays safe. And he or she will make sure that the baby gets enough fluid.
Phototherapy usually doesn't damage a baby's skin.
Another type of phototherapy uses a special fibre-optic blanket or a band. This may be used for healthy babies with mild jaundice. The band or blanket wraps around your baby. You can use it at home.
A home health nurse may visit to make sure that the baby is doing well. The baby's blood may need to be checked every day.
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Current as of:
July 26, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
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