Is sunlight an effective treatment for infants with jaundice?

Centre for Clinical Effectiveness, Monash Institute of Health Services Research, Southern Health, Monash Medical Centre, Clayton, Victoria, Australia.
The Medical journal of Australia (Impact Factor: 3.79). 05/2003; 178(8):403.
Source: PubMed
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Available from: Renea V Johnston, Jun 28, 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Objective To determine the beliefs of women living in sub-tropical and temperate Australia about the reputed therapeutic uses of sunglight in infancy and the postpartum period.Methods One hundred and sixty-seven Caucasian postpartum women were recruited from three maternity hospitals in Canberra (August 1998) and one in Brisbane (August 1999), and participated in structured interviews during a seven-day sampling period at each hospital.Results The prevalence of inappropriate maternal beliefs about therapeutic sun exposure in infancy and the postpartum period was similar in Brisbane and Canberra. Overall, 62% of women had at least one inappropriate belief about the perceived benefits of intentionally sunning their baby. Forty-two percent of women were in favour of using sunlight to treat neonatal jaundice; 31.1% believed sunlight was a good remedy for cracked nipples; 22.2% believed they should intentionally expose their baby to sunlight to prevent vitamin-D deficiency and 16.2% reported they would use sunlight to treat nappy rash. Older maternal age and previously sunning a child to treat jaundice were common predictors of a number of these beliefs.Conclusions and Implications These women reported a high prevalence of beliefs that may result in their infant being intentionally exposed to sunlight, and which could increase their child's future risk of skin cancer.
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    ABSTRACT: For centuries, sunlight has been used for therapeutic purposes. Parents still sun their infants to treat neonatal jaundice, nappy rash or mostly to supply vitamin D for bone development as a consequence of health beliefs. In this study we aimed to assess knowledge and behaviour of parents about benefits of sunlight and sun protection. In this study, parents attending to governmental primary healthcare units for their children's routine vaccinations, upon their informed consent, were consecutively enrolled during one month. Data were collected by a semi-structured questionnaire. The mean age of 118 enrolled parents and their babies were 27.9 +/- 6.5 years and 8.3 +/- 5.8 months, respectively. Most of the participants were mothers (93.2%), housewives (81.4%) with an educational level of > or =6 years (71.2%). Sunlight was considered beneficial for bone development (86.4%), diaper rash (5.9%) and neonatal jaundice (12.7%). In case of neonatal jaundice 72.0% of the participants reported that they would consult a physician. Most of the participants (82.2%) were sunning their babies outdoors. Nearly half (49.7%) of them got this information from medical staff. Fifty two percent of the parents were sunning their babies before 10-11 a.m. and/or after 3 p.m. Only 13.6% of parents reported using sunscreen for their babies, and the majority of them were using sun protecting factor > or = 15. One forth of the sunscreen users was using sunscreen according to their physicians' advice. Most of the participants were aware of the benefits of sunlight; especially for bone development. However they were displaying inappropriate behaviour while sunning their babies for health reasons. More education should be given to parents about the danger of sunlight at primary health care units while advising to sun their babies, if any.
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