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Key Information About Hepatitis A

Updated on June 8, 2019
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Srikanth is passionate about helping people improve their quality of life.

Overview

Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis A, which is also known as hep A, is a vaccine-preventable, communicable disease of the liver.

Regions where there is a high risk of hepatitis A transmission include Africa, Asia and Central and South America.

In developing countries with poor sanitary conditions and hygienic practices, most children (90 percent) have been infected with the hepatitis A virus before the age of 10 years.

The homeless are more vulnerable to hepatitis A, which easily spreads when people do not have access to good hygiene and do not wash their hands after using the restroom.

Source

Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver.... Essentially it means that the liver gets inflamed and swollen, and in doing so people will be develop certain symptoms.

— Dr. Ryan Murphy, Baycare Clinic

Causes

Hepatitis A is caused by Hepatovirus A (HAV), which spreads when you eat or drink something contaminated with fecal matter, even just tiny amounts. It does not spread through sneezing or coughing.

Symptoms

Symptoms include tiredness, fever, aches, loss of appetite, nausea, feeling and/or being sick, diarrhoea, vomiting, pain in the abdomen, dark urine, pale white stools, yellowing of the skin and eyes, sudden onset of abdominal discomfort, and itchy skin.

Source

Symptoms of Hepatitis A could take up to 50 days to manifest.

Diagnosis

Blood tests are widely available to accurately diagnose hepatitis A, including tests for antibodies, or the affected person’s immune response to hepatitis A proteins.

Treatment

There is no specific treatment for hepatitis A. It normally gets better without any treatment. Goal of treatment is to provide relief from the symptoms.

You may feel more tired than normal, especially during the early stages of the virus, so you may need to get plenty of rest.

Your doctor may give you medication to help with any sickness or some pain relief if needed.

Take the dose recommended by your doctor as the medicines will be processed by your liver and taking too many may put your liver under more strain.

Avoiding fatty foods. Eating smaller regular meals and snacks may also help you avoid feeling sick.

Prevention

Immune globulin, a blood by product, is used as temporary protection against hepatitis A. When immune globulin is given, you receive protective antibody from someone who is already immune.

Immune globulin is used to prevent hepatitis A both before and within 2 weeks after exposure to hepatitis A virus.

Good personal hygiene and proper sanitation help prevent the spread of the HAV virus.

Always wash your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, and before preparing, serving, or eating food.

Boiling or cooking food and drinks for at least 1 minute to 185°F (85°C) inactivates HAV. Foods and drinks heated to this temperature and for this length of time do not transmit HAV infection unless they become contaminated after heating.

If you are traveling, you can lower their risk of this illness by drinking only water that has been boiled or chemically purified, by eating only foods that have been properly heated, and by avoiding fruits or vegetables that are not peeled or prepared by the traveler personally. Adequate chlorination of water does inactivate HAV.

Source

Are you vaccinated against hepatitis A?

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2019 Srikanth R

Comments

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    • srirad0675 profile imageAUTHOR

      Srikanth R 

      5 months ago

      They are caused by different viruses.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      5 months ago from UK

      I always get confused about the difference between hep A and hep B.

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