How Does Phototherapy Work For Jaundice?

What is Phototherapy?

Phototherapy was used in science in 1958 for the treatment of neonatal hyperbilirubinemia.

I had earlier shared Hyperbilirubinemia In Adults | Hyperbilirubinemia In Newborn I hope you read the post.

This treatment method involves shining a particular type of blue fluorescent light on a baby’s bare skin or laying the baby under a phototherapy light bili blanket to maximize skin exposure to the rays.

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What is bili blanket?

Billi blankets provide therapeutic lights to treat your child. It is also found in sunlight. The strength of light is almost the same as a blanket; it receives shade on a sunny day yet is more secure. Biliblanket filters potentially harmful ultraviolet and infrared energy.

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Newborn baby jaundice

Jaundice occurs in infants when the amount of bilirubin increases in them. Newborn infants do not reduce bilirubin on their own, which causes jaundice at birth.

This type of jaundice is usually seen 24 hours after the birth of the baby. Then it can increase further on the third or fourth day, which generally lasts for a week.

I also wrote an article on Jaundice In Newborn Child: Symptoms, Causes, Types, and Treatment also you can read.

Sign and symptoms

Jaundice in a newborn baby is not very dangerous, provided that its symptoms are identified at the right time and necessary precautions are taken. Therefore, we are telling you the signs of jaundice in your baby:

The first symptom of jaundice is that you will see paleness on the body. Yellowing of the face will be seen first on the baby having jaundice. 

After that, there will be pallor on the chest, stomach, hands, and feet.

When jaundice occurs, the white part of Baby’s eyes also turns yellow.

Also, other symptoms indicate that should no take the baby to the doctor, such as:

  • The baby’s appetite started to decrease.
  • Babies began to look dull.
  • They started crying a lot.
  • He has a fever of higher than 100 degrees.
  • Have vomiting or diarrhea or both.
  • The baby has dark yellow urine and discolored stools.
  • Also, if the infant has jaundice after seven days, it can become a matter of concern.

Diagnosis of phototherapy (Jaudince in Children)

The doctor examines the yellowing of Baby’s hands, palms, and skin based on physical examination.
Also, doctors examine Baby’s blood to check for jaundice. This test detects the level of bilirubin and levels of healthy red blood cells.

At the same time, they can also test urine and feces to check the jaundice in the child. It is ascertained that there is no infection in the infant’s liver because it can cause jaundice due to liver infection.

In such a situation, the infant should be taken to the doctor daily for at least three days. Then should take it later on the fifth day. It is because high levels of bilirubin occur within five days of onset.

You must read this article: Premature Infant: Cause, Treatment, And Health Problem In Pregnancy


It is a well-known method of treating jaundice in children. During this therapy, the baby is placed under the light and inside the blanket, emitting wavelength rays. During this time, Baby’s eyes are bandages to protect.

Phototherapy is a way of treating jaundice. Unique lights help break down the bilirubin in your baby’s skin so that it can remove it from their body. As a result, it lowers the bilirubin in your baby’s blood.

It is a non-invasive, inexpensive, and easy method of degradation of unconjugated bilirubin by photo-oxidation.

The lights convert the toxic bilirubin into water-soluble nontoxic, efficiently excrete bile from the blood, stool, and urine. 

It is recommended that phototherapy may be started early when serum bilirubin approaches 15 mg/dl. 

A healthy full-term infant with hyperbilirubinemia can manage by phototherapy alone in the absence of hemolysis or sepsis. Therefore, there is no need to exchange blood transfusion(EBT) for such infants.

In preterm babies, phototherapy is started at a serum bilirubin level of 5 mg/dl or more to prevent the need for exchange blood transfusion.

Phototherapy can be given continuously or intermittently using fluorescence or halogen light.

Other treatments

Immunoglobulin Injection

This injection is applied when the baby may have jaundice due to the separation of the infant’s blood group and the mother. However, this is not always the reason.

Changing Baby’s blood

This method has to be chosen when no treatment works. In this process, the baby’s blood is frequently replaced with the blood of the donor. It has to be done until the excess of bilirubin in the entire body is reduced.

Home remedie/ Treatment

Suppose there is jaundice in newborn children, sunlight also good. Doctors also say that sunshine is beneficial for your baby.

Sun Lamp Therapy

Place the Baby inside the sun lamp. It is the method of phototherapy that you can give to your baby at home. If you feel that your newborn’s bilirubin level is constantly increasing, provide sunlamps therapy.

Sugarcane juice helps to strengthen the liver and function properly. For jaundice treatment in children, give them some teaspoons of sugarcane juice 3 to 4 times a day.

If you notice severe symptoms, do not delay taking your baby to the doctor. The doctor may examine the infant’s jaundice by looking at the symptoms, And accordingly to that, will start the treatment.

Can jaundice come back after phototherapy?

It is not unusual for Baby to have jaundice for some time after phototherapy. Bilirubin levels may rise again 18 to 24 hours after stopping phototherapy. Although rare, it requires follow-up for those who may need more treatment.

Complication of phototherapy

Though phototherapy is safe, there are some side effects found immediately or later in life.

  • Dehydration
  • Hypothermia
  • Hyperthermia
  • Skin rash
  • Loose stool or green stool
  • Bronze-baby-syndrome
  • Electric shock
  • Hypocalcaemia


Neonatal jaundice is common for all babies with symptoms of paleness, yellow skin, and fever. Phototherapy is one of the options available for neonatal jaundice as a treatment. It does not have any severe side effects.


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