Sunbathe ‘Yellow Baby’, Is It Effective?

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UNAIR NEWS – Warming a baby in the morning sun seems to have been a tradition. People believe it can overcome the jaundice that are often experienced by newborns. Regardless whether it is true or not, the actual treatment of jaundice in infants should be appropriate. If it is not done correctly, it could threaten the baby’s safety.

Yellow baby or in medical terms is called Hyperbilirubinemia is a clinical symptom that is often found in newborns 1-2 weeks old. Pediatrician of FK UNAIR-RSUD Dr. Soetomo Agus Haryanto, dr., SpA (K) reveals that fairly normal Hiperbilirubinemia can actually be overcome with sunlight therapy. But if Hiperbilirubinemia classified as acute, it is necessary to do photo therapy.

Sunbathing for a baby in the sun is not recommended by pediatricians. Since bilirubin is produced from the breakdown of red blood cells and is not easily soluble in water, it requires exposure to light long enough and constant in order to dissolve the excessive levels of bilirubin in the body.

“The distance the sun is far away, while warming the baby is no longer than 15 minutes to one hour. It’s different with photo therapy that has a certain wavelength so the therapeutic process of reducing bilirubin levels is more effective, efficient, and optimal, “he said.

Newborn sunbathing activities actually aims to warm the body and stimulate the baby to thirst. When the baby is thirsty, the baby will tend to drink more milk.

The protein contained in the milk is more likely to bind the bilirubin, then bring it the liver and discharged through feces and urine. During the process, within a few days the levels of bilirubin in the body will return to normal.

“The mildest symptoms of Hyperbilirubinemia are characterized by less drinking and weight loss of more than 10 percent,” he said.

Although people consider yellow babies to be normal, but not all yellow babies are considered normal. According to Agus, if the bilirubin level is too high while not getting proper treatment, it can trigger kernicterus or severe complications. The impact of these complications can disrupt the brain’s nervous system permanently.

The medical world recognizes kernicterus as a severe complication of Hiperbilirubinemia, wherein bilirubin levels in the baby’s body (blood bilirubin> 20 mg / dl) may result in permanent neuronal disturbance.

As one of the national referral center hospitals, Dr. Soetomo has treated more than 450 infants with Hiperbilirubinemia in 2016, while 6-8 cases of which have lead to kernicterus.

“If there is toxicity in the brain, there is 5-10 percent chance of permanent brain defects,” he said.

Agus explained, if the baby is known to have two-stage Hiperbilirubinemia accompanied with a fever and seizures, there is 90 percent potential leading to death. Meanwhile, if the baby can still be saved, exchange blood type transfusion should be done.

“This method can help babies survive , but there is 10 percent risk for disability,” he said.

Unfortunately, until now there has been no accurate data about the number of cases of Hiperbilirubinemia in Indonesia. But Agus believes, cases of Hiperbilirubinemia in Indonesia as a phenomenon of icebergs. Because it is considered natural by the masyaraktat, infants with acute Hyperbilirubinemia are often overlooked.

“The accuracy of diagnosis and treatment of Hiperbilirubinemia will greatly affect the baby’s development and growth in later stages,” he said. (*)

Author: Sefya Hayu Istighfaricha

Editor: Binti Q. Masruroh


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