Alternative NamesHepatitis A
What is Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A is an extremely contagious liver infection that caused by the hepatitis A virus that affects your liver's function. It is found in the stool of people with hepatitis A. It is transmitted from one person to another by putting something in your mouth that has been contaminated with the stool of an infected person. It is spread easily where there is poor sanitation or poor personal hygiene.
Signs and symptoms
You have hepatitis A if you have noticed the following:
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
Children often have a few symptoms of hepatitis A. A person can transmit the hepatitis A virus a week before his or her symptoms appear. People who have not any symptoms can also transmit the virus.
Continuing signs and symptoms of hepatitis A
In rare cases, people with hepatitis A will continue to have signs and symptoms of infection for a few weeks longer than usual. For these people signs and symptoms of hepatitis A can be repeated.
Acute liver failure
Sometimes hepatitis A can lead to acute liver failure (a loss of liver function). It typically appears suddenly. People with chronic liver diseases and older people have an extremely high risk of developing this complication. People with liver failure should be hospitalized for monitoring and treatment. Rarely they may need a liver transplantation.
The cause of hepatitis A is the hepatitis A virus that infects the liver cells and causes inflammation. The inflammation can impair liver function.
Hepatitis A virus is transmitted by:
- Drinking contaminated water
- Eating raw shellfish from water polluted with sewage
- Being in close contact with an infected
- Having sex with someone who has the virus
The best prevention of hepatitis A is vaccination. If you had a contact with an infected person you should be treated by immune globulin within 2 weeks of contact.
In addition, you should always wash your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom, before and after handling food.
There is no effective treatment for hepatitis A. The hepatitis A virus disappears on its own, the liver heals completely in a month or two.
Hepatitis A treatment usually concentrates on prevention of signs and symptoms of hepatitis A infection. This treatment includes:
- Lack of energy. Most people suffering from hepatitis A feel tired and have less energy for their daily tasks. You should have a rest.
- You should prevent nausea, because it can cause some difficulties with eating. Eat small snacks throughout the day, rather than 3 large meals.
- You should avoid alcohol consumpyion while you have signs or symptoms of hepatitis A infection, because it can affect your liver's function.