Is Jaundice a Communicable Disease?

By | November 12, 2008

Is Jaundice a Communicable Disease?

Jaundice in itself is not communicable and poses no risk of infection. Jaundice is instead a non-contagious symptom for various disorders that are related mainly to your liver. To understand this statement first it is important to know what exactly jaundice is. Jaundice is a condition which gives the skin and the sclera (whites of the eyes) a yellowish pigment due to high levels of bilirubin in the blood. Bilirubin is catabolic by-product that is derived from the metabolism of red blood cells which is later excreted in bile via actions of the liver. In most of the cases, jaundice is indicative of some liver related problem but conditions related to blood and spleen can also be the cause for jaundice. Jaundice can also cause other signs and symptoms like nausea, vomiting, fever, itching, decreased appetite, abdominal pain, dark colored urine and clay colored stools. Jaundice as a symptom is not communicable but the cause of jaundice could be a disease that may be communicable sometimes.

For instance, if hepatitis A is the cause for jaundice and the patient has an active infection then there is a risk of infection to others. Although any individual thus effected will also suffer jaundice, since this is just a symptom and not the infection itself hepatitis A is considered communicable and not jaundice. It is therefore important to know the cause and treat it promptly to minimize the risk of contagion as well. You can treat a mild form of jaundice by practicing complete bed rest and through effective control over your diet.

Dietary Tips for Jaundice Prevention

Try the following diet tips along with your medications for quick recovery –

  • It is important to increase your urine output to decrease the bilirubin levels in your body. For this purpose, encourage fluid intake in the form of boiled water, coconut water, sugarcane juice, and glucose water, other fresh fruit juices and vegetable juices like apple juice, cranberry juice, carrot juice, beetroot juice and citrus fruit juice. The simple form of carbohydrates from these juices will also help to regenerate the compromised liver cells.
  • Soft, easily digestible low fat meals at small intervals, instead of two or three large meals, would be preferable. Feeding small meals frequently will also help to deal with some other symptoms of jaundice like nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite.
  • Avoid fatty foods, fried foods, junk foods and spicy foods altogether for first few weeks or till the bilirubin levels fall.
  • Gradually as the bilirubin levels fall simple monounsaturated fats like cream and butter can be included in the diet in very small amounts. Jaundice is non-communicable but proper care and proper hygiene is essential for fast recovery.