DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Neonatal jaundice. The face of a 3-week-old baby with jaundice. Jaundice is a yellowing of the skin caused by an excess of the bile pigment bilirubin in the bloodstream. In the newborn it often occurs as a harmless result of immaturity of the liver, which fails to excrete bilirubin properly. Neonatal jaundice is most common in pre- mature babies and usually disappears by the end of the first week. Blood tests may be performed to rule out the possibility of more serious causes, such as liver disease. Phototherapy, where the baby is put under a blue light, may be given to help break down the bilirubin in the skin.
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