Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver disorder caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV) which results in inflammation and affects the normal functioning of the liver. Hepatitis causes inflammation of the liver due to exposure of chemicals, overuse of alcohol or infections.
Hepatitis A is more common in places where the sanitation is poor, it spreads via contaminated food or water and close contact with an infected person. Mild cases of hepatitis settle down on its own and don’t require any treatment, patients recover without any damage to the liver. Also Check Out: Protect Yourself From Hepatitis Infections!
The signs and symptoms of hepatitis A does not show until a person has the virus for a few weeks. Some of the common symptoms include;
Nausea and vomiting
Pain in the stomach, specifically in the upper right side beneath your ribs (by the liver).
Low- grade fever
Dark-tinted liver and pale stool
Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes.
Itching and rashes
The symptoms will be fairly mild and settle within a few weeks, but if the infection is very severe then it may last for months.
A person suffering from HAV will excrete the virus in the stool. It generally, passed on when a normal person consumes food or water that has been contaminated with stool of an infected individual.
Some of the ways HAV spread include:
Eating food handled by an infected person who doesn’t thoroughly wash his or her hands after using the toilet.
Having contaminated water
Consuming raw shellfish from water polluted
A sex partner who has the virus
From close contact with an infected person
Diagnosis And Treatment:
The doctor recommends certain blood and urine tests to check for the presence of hepatitis A virus. For people without any visible symptoms, it is difficult to diagnose hepatitis even with a complete physical examination.
There is no specific treatment for hepatitis A, the body in most cases, will flush out the virus on its own and the liver heals within six months without any side effects. Treatment mainly aims at keeping the patient comfortable and avert complications like dehydration and fatigue. This includes:
A proper diet that helps to replenish nutrition and fluids
Adequate rest, with time off work
Taking over the counter pain relievers, if needed and recommended by the physician
Prevention mainly focusses on immunization and practising good hygiene. Hepatitis A vaccine is usually given in two shots, the first one is followed by booster dose which is given after six months. Also Read: Hepatitis Decoded: Ways To Prevent
Practice good personal hygiene, especially wash your hand thoroughly after using the toilet or changing the diaper or before handling the food or eating.Refrain from sexual activity if you have HAV, as even condom will not protect.