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Question on Jaundice

Is first phase of jaundice also communicable?
(October 14, 2010)

Jaundice occurs as a sign in various diseases and it isn’t a disease in itself. An individual who has jaundice will find that his/her sclerae and skin have a yellowish staining, which is due to the increased levels of the chemical bilirubin in the blood. If these jaundice levels are mildly elevated, it causes the skin and sclerae to be yellowish; however, if the levels are high, the color turns brown.  

Bilirubin originates from your red blood cells. When these red blood cells turn old they are annihilated.  When this happens hemoglobin is released by these cells once the iron contained is removed. Chemicals that are found in the blood once the iron is removed turn into bilirubin.  Jaundice levels increase when (1) the amount of bilirubin that is produced is too much and your liver is unable to remove it from your blood; (2) some defect in your liver prevents the removal of bilirubin from your blood; and (3) if the bile ducts are blocked the flow of bilirubin and bile from your liver to your intestines decreases.

It is not uncommon for people to wonder how to treat jaundice as the conditions vary between newborns and adults.  Here are a few tips that can help you handle the problem once you see signs of jaundice.

• If your child’s jaundice levels are extremely high your doctor may order bililight or phototherapy to treat the problem. Infants and newborns are placed under special lights that absorb the pigments of the skin allowing the liver to function normally. Care is taken however to cover the eyes with a protective covering.  
• If the jaundice levels are high, especially in the case of adults, immediate medical help should be sought. Jaundice can be quite serious in the case of an adult as compared to a newborn. Your doctor may order an ultrasound to check if there is any obstruction. Surgery is sometimes needed in case of an obstruction. 
• Eating healthy to some extent can help solve the problem. Make sure your diet includes plenty of whole grain breads, fruits and vegetables. Of course, the underlying problem has to be treated, but eating healthy can definitely help lower your jaundice levels.
• If the problem of jaundice persists in your infant, it is best that you seek medical help. Your doctor may have to order some blood tests to ensure that there is no serious liver problem.
• Instead of breastfeeding an infant suffering from jaundice, you can move to formula for about 24 hours. This accelerates the bilirubin removal procedure.
• Another remedy you can try at home is drinking barley water. Boil one cup of barley in 3 to 3½ liters of water. Once the mixture cools you can drink it a couple of times during the day. 

Jaundice treatment in adults can be done at home if the jaundice levels are not very high. Drinking the juice of tomatoes is one way you can flush the toxins out of your system. Drinking plenty of water to which lemon juice has been added can also help. These remedies help flush toxins out of your system and reduce the pressure on your liver. Patients suffering from jaundice sometimes experience severe itching. Extra care should be taken to prevent excessive bleeding and injuries. 

We need to understand that jaundice is a problem that can be treated and is not a serious problem by itself. It is important, however, that we do not ignore the signs of jaundice. The main cause of this problem needs to be evaluated and reviewed with the help of your health care provider. A right diagnosis has to be made right from the start to ensure that the problem is properly treated.

Submitted by C N on October 14, 2010 at 05:47


The first phase of many other diseases like uncontrolled fever can cause jaundice if appropriate care is not taken, however the first phase of jaundice is not communicable. Jaundice is a non-communicable disease as it occurs due to 3 main reasons that are non-communicable.

1) Excessive breakdown of red blood cells,

2) Impairment f liver cell function, and

3) Blockage of the bile tubes.

Submitted by S M on June 25, 2007 at 09:04


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