Jaundice (or icterus) is based on the French word “jaunice” which means “yellowness”. This condition is characterized by the yellowing of the skin, mucous membranes, and whites of the eyes. This discoloration is due to a high level of yellow-orange pigment, bilirubin. As many as 60% of infants in the US are affected since their livers are less developed. The infants’ conditions often get better within 2 weeks even without treatment. When caused by an infection (such as in the case of Hepatitis A, B, and C or an inflamed liver), the symptoms may include flu-like symptoms, fever, chills, abdominal pain, and dark-colored urine. When not caused by infection (such as in the case of genetic metabolic defects and medication side effects), the symptoms include itchy skin and weight loss. The treatments depend on the cause, for instance, patients with hepatitis-induced jaundice are given antiviral medications and those attributed to side effects are given alternative medication.

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