Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) is an enzyme in our blood that helps produce substances that keep our red blood cells alive. In the absence of G6PD, our red blood cells will die when they face some stresses. These stresses are usually from some drugs or infections. We call the lack of this enzyme G6PD deficiency. G6PD deficiency is quite common.

How can your baby get G6PD deficiency?

Your baby can inherit G6PD deficiency from his parents. More men have it than women.

How can G6PD deficiency affect your child?

If your baby lacks G6PD, his red blood cells will break down easily. This may happen when he has infections. Certain drugs can also cause this. Moth balls do these too. So does eating fava beans. This will show as anaemia. Your baby will have yellow eyes. We call this jaundice. His urine will look like tea or cola. A common way G6PD deficiency shows up is jaundice in newborns.

Baby has jaundice because of G6PD deficiency

How is G6PD deficiency diagnosed?

G6PD deficiency is diagnosed using a blood test. Some Child Welfare Clinics order this test and fill the results in the Child Health Record Book. Antenatal Clinics may also request this test.

Treatment of G6PD deficiency

Help your child to avoid infections, with simple things like hand washing and immunizations. Also, take him to hospital quickly when he is ill. Always remember to mention it to your doctor if your child has G6PD deficiency. He needs to know this in order to choose the right drugs for him. Avoid naphthalene or moth balls. In addition, your child needs healthy food to make him able to fight infections.

G6PD deficiency is quite common, but very well managed with the right information. Mostly, crises are avoidable, and excellent health is very possible.

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