Additionally, you should get vaccinated against hepatitis A if you travel a lot around the world, where the food or water are likely to be contaminated or where there is a high rate of hepatitis in the society. Also, remember that you can get hepatitis through some risky behaviors, for example unprotected sex or intravenous drug use.
5. Watch Out for Medicines
You need to be aware that so called toxic hepatitis is often caused by certain medicines and these include common over-the-counter drugs or frequently prescribed medicines, such as antibiotics, anabolic steroids, or cholesterol-lowering medicines. Therefore, if you deal with the problem of high bilirubin level and you are trying to lower it, always consult your doctor before you start taking some medication on a regular basis.
Remember that your liver breaks down the medicines you take and sometimes it may get damaged during this process. One of the most common drugs which may potentially cause liver damage is acetaminophen. However, some herbal solutions, such as comfrey, skullcap, or kava are linked to the liver damage too. Therefore, no matter if you want to start a medical or an alternative therapy, always consult the issue with a doctor first.
Also, do not take over-the-counter drugs so recklessly as they are still medicines and they can cause serious side effects. If you feel pain, start with natural methods of relieving pain, such as a warm compress, a massage, or going for a walk. If these methods do not work, take a painkiller then. However, if the symptoms do not alleviate after three days of taking over-the-counter drugs, you should make an appointment at a doctor’s.
How to Lower Bilirubin Levels in Infants
High levels of bilirubin are quite common among babies in the first days of their lives. There are a few factors which may contribute to the problem development. For example, if the baby was born prematurely, his or her liver may not have fully developed yet and it has some difficulties with processing the bilirubin.
Also, babies born with so called ABO Incompatibility, which means that the baby’s blood type is incompatible with mother’s blood type, have decreased levels of bilirubin. If a baby has been seriously bruised during birth, bilirubin level may be higher due to the red blood cells breakdown.
It sometimes happens that a baby develops so called breast milk jaundice. It occurs when there are certain proteins present in the mother’s milk or when a baby does not get enough milk and it ends up with dehydration.
If a baby is born with an infection or has some liver, enzyme, or blood problems, he or she may also have elevated bilirubin levels. A baby needs to be under doctor’s control until the bilirubin level is stabilized.
If you want to lower the level of bilirubin in your baby, you need to feed your infant as often as you can, which may be even twelve times a day. If you have some problems with breast feeding, do not give up too quickly as breast milk is the best food you can give to your baby. Nowadays, almost every hospital has a lactation consultant, who will support you and give you some tips about breast feeding.
When your baby will be properly fed, he or she will have a better bowel movement and this can significantly reduce the bilirubin level. If breast feeding does not bring any effects, your doctor may suggest you giving your baby a formula, but do not make this decision on your own.
If feeding your baby does not seem to resolve the problem, your doctor may consider phototherapy. In this method your baby is exposed to a blue and green light. The waves of light pass through your baby’s body into his or her blood. Then it transforms the bilirubin into the materials which baby can excrete.
The procedure is safe and effective. Your baby can wear a diaper during the sessions and his or her eyes will be protected with soft eye patches. A normal reaction to phototherapy is a frequent and loose bowel movement in a greenish color.
Some parents are afraid of phototherapy thinking that it causes some side effects. They believe that natural sunlight is effective too and that it is safer. While it is true that natural sunlight can lower the level of bilirubin, the baby’s skin is very sensitive to it and exposing such a small baby to direct sunlight may bring more harm than good.
Another option is so called biliblanket. It is an advanced therapy based on the fiber-optic material. In this method a woven fiber-optic biliblanket is placed on the baby, fully exposing him or her to light. The great advantage of this solution is that you can hold and nurse the baby during the treatment.