How To Deal With G6PD Deficiency In Infants

Having a new baby in your life is intimidating. There is nothing more a parent wants than to have their child be 100% happy and healthy. For many parents, there are things that get in the way of this goal. One of the most common problems is known as glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase or G6PD deficiency.

Parents will typically realize their child is suffering from a G6PD deficiency when they are infant. It usually causes jaundice that is more severe than the normal jaundice (bilrubin level >14mg/dl). When this is discovered, you should rush the infant immediately to a Hospital with special ICU for infants and that has blood bank facility.

Your infant will be given Phototherapy treatment to bring the bilrubin level down. If this does not work, the infant may be given the exchange blood transfusion treatment.

What is a G6PD deficiency?

To put it simply, it means the body is lacking the G6PD enzyme that covers the red blood cells. This means that their red blood cells do not live as long when they are exposed to certain chemicals which are in certain foods or drugs.

If a person with G6PD deficiency is exposed to these chemicals,he/she will suffer from Hemolytic anemia. It causes anemia, dizziness, pale skin, fatigued, headache, and pain in the backs or abdomens.

What Causes G6PD Deficiency?

G6PD deficiency is passed along in genes from one or both parents to a child. The gene responsible for this deficiency is on the X chromosome. As female infants gets get X chromosome from both father and mother, they will suffer from G6PD deficiency only if both parents are G6PD deficient.

However, a male infant will be deficient if the mother is d6pd deficient or a G6PD healthy carrier. Therefore male infants are more commonly affected by this disease.

Care for G6PD Deficient Child

It is extremely important to speak with your doctor as soon as you can to obtain a list of the foods and drugs you need to avoid in order to allow your baby to live a healthier life for rest of his life.

When you begin introducing foods to your baby, pay extra attention when they eat fava beans or beans; as these can be triggers. Blueberries can also trigger problems as well as peppermint oil.

Keep in mind; if you are breastfeeding, it’s important that you, as well as the baby, stay away from these triggers.

Most Common drugs to avoid are:

  • Primaquine (Used to treat Malaria)
  • Naphthalene (a chemical found in mothballs and moth crystals).
  • Sulphonamides (Sulpha Drugs)
  • Nalidixic acid (synthetic quinolone antibiotics)
  • Quinolone
  • Pyrimethamine (Daraprim)

See complete list at

It maybe noted that some child with G6PD deficiency can tolerate some of these medicines in small amounts; others cannot take them at all. Check with your doctor for more specific instructions.

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