What is hepatitis A?
Hepatitis A is simply an inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus in the body. This liver infection may be mild in some patients lasting for a few weeks while in others it might chronic lasting for months. Hepatitis which is simply an inflammation of the liver has different types like hepatitis B, hepatitis C, hepatitis D, and hepatitis E. You can get hepatitis A when you consume foods that are contaminated with feces of the infected person with the virus.
Although, this virus is not that harmful compared to hepatitis B and hepatitis C; you have to take good care of yourself to avert having this virus. You can also recover fully when you have hepatitis A after successful treatment.
What is the symptom of Hepatitis A?
The symptom caused by this virus is not always common but a few of the following symptoms might surface:
- Jaundice usually with dark urine, yellow skin, and eyes
- Loss of appetite
- Feelings of fever
- Stomach ache
Most people tend to exhibit symptoms after two weeks of being infected with the virus while others might not experience any symptoms at all. Children who tend to have this virus experience a few of this symptom.
Read Also: Hepatitis A Vaccine
What are the causes of Hepatitis A?
Most people tend to get this disease when they eat food or drink water that is being contaminated with feces of an individual with the virus. You can also get this virus through the following:
- Consumption of raw shellfish from water having the virus in it
- Consumption of vegetables, fruits, or other foods that were contaminated by infected handlers
- Ingestion of contaminated ice having the virus
What is the risk factor of hepatitis A?
The risk factors of hepatitis A are common amongst:
- Travelers to countries with a high rate of this virus
- People who indulge in sex or live with the person infected with the virus
- People who tend to inject themselves with hard drugs
- Children in daycare and their teachers
- Men who have sex with other men
Diagnosis of hepatitis A
You can be diagnosed with Hepatitis A when your medical doctor sees the above symptoms and your blood tests show you have an increasing level of liver enzymes in your body. The following blood tests will be conducted to know the precise diagnosis for optimal treatment.
Immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies: It appears after the virus has been in your body some time. You can tend to have it all your life as they help protect your body against hepatitis A daily. People who tend to test positive to IgG antibodies but not IgM antibodies shows they must have had the virus in the past or they have been vaccinated against the virus.
Immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibodies: Your body produces these when you are first vulnerable to hepatitis A. They can live in your bloodstream for almost 6 months.
What are the long term outlooks for people with This Virus?
A publication by Center for Disease and Control (CDC) shows that about 10 percent to 15 percent of hepatitis A patients will have symptoms that might last for a long time or resurface after a period of 6 to 9 months. Hepatitis A virus does not cause prolonged problems or complications.
Liver failure may occur in some patients or a transplant will be recommended to this disease.
What are the treatments for hepatitis A?
Hepatitis A doesn’t have a particular medication to cure it completely. Your medical doctor will perform liver function test (LFT) to know how your liver is working to be certain your entire body is healing rapidly.
A person with this virus should do the following to enjoy a comfortable life:
Avoid consumption of alcohol
Alcohol makes your medication not to work properly and also causes liver damage. Never take any drugs without a prescription from your medical doctor so as not to mar the health of your liver.
Have adequate rest
Do not overstressed yourself instead get enough rest because you might feel tired or fall sick.
Try cutting down on food consumed
Most people with hepatitis A find it difficult to eat because of the nauseating feelings. You can opt for snacks during the day than eating whole meals. Drinking milk or fruit juice and more calorie-rich foods are suitable for patients with the virus. Taking of fluids can also help you stay hydrated if the feelings of throwing up surfaces.
Does hepatitis A have a vaccine?
Absolutely yes but it is approximately 85 percent effective among children. Its vaccine can last between 15 to 20 years among children. Hepatitis A vaccine has an effective rate of 95 percent among healthy adults. This vaccine is usually received in 3 separate doses and is mostly needed for the following people:
- A person with incessant liver disease
- People whose blood doesn’t clot properly
- Travelers to places with an increased outbreak of hepatitis A infection
- Injects hard drugs illicitly
- Men who make love to other men
Prevention of hepatitis A
The best way to prevent this virus is by getting vaccinated and make sure you visit a medical doctor to give you either IgG or IgM antibodies shot if you are being exposed to someone with the virus.
- Avoid consuming raw foods or drink tap water especially in places with no good sanitation.
- Maintain good personal hygiene like washing your hands properly with water and soap after using the toilet.
- Foods should be handled properly and do wash your hands with soap/water after changing your kid’s diaper to avoid contamination of the food with feces.
How to avoid transmitting hepatitis A?
The following steps should be diligently adhered to so as not to transfer the virus to a healthy individual. They include:
- Always wash your hands with water and antiseptic soap especially after changing your babies’ diapers or after using the bathroom.
- Food handlers should be tested for the virus and if tested positive, he or she should not prepare any food for customers.
- Never indulge in any sexual activity.
- Foods should be properly covered and free from exposure to the virus.
Care should be taken against having this virus and regular medical checkup should be inculcated if you have the virus so as not to transfer the virus to your loved ones. Since your liver is the largest organ in your body, absolute care of your liver must be adhered to as it’s needed to remove poisons, store energy, and digest foods.