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Kernicterus / Jaundice - Warning Signs
Kernicterus > Warning Signs

Ask your pediatrician to see your baby the day you call, if your baby

ü                    Is very yellow or orange (skin color changes start from the head and spread to the toes)

ü                    Is hard to wake up or will not sleep at all

ü                    Is not breastfeeding or sucking from a bottle well

ü                    Is very fussy

ü                    Does not have enough wet or dirty diapers


Get emergency medical help if your baby

ü       Is crying inconsolably or with a high pitch

ü       Is arched like a bow (the head or neck and heels are bent backward and the body forward)

ü       Has a stiff, limp, or floppy body

ü      Has strange eye movements

What can I do to make sure my baby’s jaundice does not cause brain damage?

 A    Ask your doctor or nurse about a jaundice bilirubin test. 

C    Create a follow-up plan before leaving the birth hospital. All babies 3 to 5 days old should be checked by a nurse or doctor, because this is usually when a baby’s bilirubin level is highest. The timing of the follow-up visit will depend on how old your baby is when you leave the birth hospital and on any other risk factors. Babies with jaundice in the first 24 hours of life or with high bilirubin levels before hospital discharge should have an early follow-up plan.

T  Treat jaundice seriously.


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Date: March 28, 2007
Content source: National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities

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