Kernicterus (Newborn Jaundice) - Treatment

How was your baby's jaundice treated?

Share your story with others:

MedicineNet appreciates your comment. Your comment may be displayed on the site and will always be published anonymously.Patient Comments FAQs

Enter your Comment

Tell us a bit about your background to make your comments more useful to other MedicineNet users. (Optional)

Screen Name: *

Gender of Patient: Male Female

Age Range of Patient:

I am a: Patient Caregiver

* Screen Name will appear next to the published comment. Please do not include your full name or email address.

By submitting your comment, and other materials (collectively referred to as a "Submission") to MedicineNet, you grant MedicineNet permission to use, copy, transmit, publish, display, edit and modify your Submission in connection with its Web site. MedicineNet will not pay you for your Submission. You represent that you have all rights necessary for MedicineNet to use your Submission as set forth above.

Please keep these guidelines in mind when writing your comment:

  • Please make sure you address the question asked.
  • Due to the overwhelming number of comments received, not all comments will be published.
  • When selecting comments to publish, our staff will choose those that are educational and complement the topic. Please try to stay on topic.
  • Your comment may be edited. We would typically edit comments to make them clearer and more readable. We will remove personal information such as last names, email and web addresses, and other potentially harmful information.
  • We will not notify you if your comment has been published. We suggest that you check back on the topic article regularly.
  • We do not provide medical or healthcare advice, treatment, or diagnosis.

Thank you for participating!

I have read and agree to abide by the MedicineNet Terms and Conditions and the MedicineNet Privacy Policy (required).

To prevent our systems from spam, please complete the following prior to submitting your comment.

Please select the black triangle:

How is jaundice treated?

When being treated for high bilirubin levels, your baby will be undressed and put under special lights. The lights will not hurt the baby. This can be done in the hospital or at home. The baby's milk intake may also need to be increased. In some cases, if the baby has very high bilirubin levels, the doctor will do an exchange transfusion of the baby's blood. Jaundice is generally treated before brain damage is a concern. Putting your baby in sunlight is not recommended as a safe way of treating jaundice.

How do you measure bilirubin?

Before leaving the hospital with your newborn, ask your doctor or nurse about a jaundice bilirubin test.

A doctor or nurse may screen your baby's bilirubin using a light meter that is placed on the baby's head (as pictured). This results in a transcutaneous bilirubin (TcB) level. If it is high, a blood test will likely be ordered.

The best way to accurately measure bilirubin is with a small blood sample from the baby's heel.

This results in a total serum bilirubin (TSB) level. If the level is high, based upon the baby's age in hours and other risk factors, treatment will likely follow. Repeat blood samples will also likely be taken to ensure that the TSB decreases with the prescribed treatment.

If bilirubin levels are too high, what treatments are there?

Treatment for high levels of bilirubin will be ordered by your doctor or nurse.


Your baby is placed in contact with special lights that break down the bilirubin in the body. Phototherapy may be delivered through a blanket or light source around the baby's incubator or bassinet. This may be done in the hospital or at your home. Your doctor or nurse will prescribe the best form of treatment for your baby.

Exchange transfusions

A blood transfusion may be needed if the bilirubin in your baby's body reaches extreme levels.

Return to Kernicterus (Newborn Jaundice)


Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors