If your infant has been diagnosed with jaundice, your doctor may prescribe the use of a phototherapy device as treatment. The most common phototherapy device for treating jaundice at home is a biliblanket. But how does phototherapy work in treating jaundice, and why are doctors prescribing the use of these devices?
Phototherapy means “light treatment.” It is the process of using light to eliminate bilirubin in the blood. Higher levels of bilirubin in the blood can cause the discoloration of the skin known as jaundice. So when your doctor prescribes the use of a biliblanket phototherapy device, the treatment plan is for the light waves to be absorbed by your baby’s skin and blood. This should change bilirubin into products, which can pass through their system.
A biliblanket system uses fiber optics and represents advanced technology in phototherapy treatment given in both the hospital or at home. A biliblanket provides the highest level of therapeutic light available to treat your baby through a pad of woven fibers used to transport light from a light source to your baby’s skin. It is the absorption of this light leads to the elimination of bilirubin.
Phototherapy treatment is recommended by doctors for infants with high levels of bilirubin in the blood, also called hyperbilirubinemia. So while some cases of “normal” jaundice will disappear within a week or two without treatment, other babies will require treatment because of the severity of the jaundice, the cause of the jaundice, or how old the baby is when jaundice appears. These high levels can be dangerous to a baby, so it is important to obtain periodic blood samples to check the bilirubin levels and, if necessary, to treat jaundice to ensure the healthy development of your child.
If your doctor prescribes the use of a biliblanket for phototherapy, Aeroflow Healthcare will have the device delivered to you at the hospital or your home. You can also request a biliblanket from Aeroflow Heatlhcare by calling (888) 345-1780 or completing our online form.
The steps for using a biliblanket device are as follows:
- Attach the hose to the machine by inserting it into the circular opening and then twisting it so that it remains securely in place. Attach power cord to machine.
- Cover the pad with one of the disposable cloths provided. Place the white side of the cloth onto the clear side of the pad (side without writing).
- Place the skin of the baby’s back onto the white side of the covered pad. Your baby’s head should not be placed on the pad, only the baby’s back. The hose should go towards the legs.
- You may either wrap the flaps that have an adhesive strip around the baby’s chest to keep it in place, or you can choose not to use the flaps by removing them or tucking them under the pad.
- Wrap a blanket snugly around your baby, keeping the biliblanket directly against your baby’s skin. The blanket should keep you from seeing the light from the biliblanket. The baby may also lie skin to skin on you with the biliblanket over the baby’s back, but be sure to cover both of you with a blanket to keep the light away from your eyes.
- Plug the unit in and turn it on.
- Remove the biliblanket from the baby when changing diapers or bathing. However, the biliblanket should remain on as much as possible throughout the day and night. This will increase the chance that your baby’s jaundice will improve by the next laboratory check.