6 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HEPATITIS A

July 16, 2019 by Imara Editor0

WHAT IS HEPATITIS A?

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. It can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Although rare, hepatitis A can cause death in some people.

HOW IS IT TRANSMITTED?

Hepatitis  A can be got from contaminated food or water or from close contact with a person or object that’s infected including sexual encounters. It does not spread through sneezing or coughing.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

  • Fatigue
  • Sudden nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort, especially on the upper right side beneath your lower ribs (by your liver)
  • Clay-colored bowel movements
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low-grade fever
  • Dark urine
  • Joint pain
  • Yellowing of the skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice)
  • Intense itching

WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS?

You’re at increased risk of hepatitis A if you:

  • Travel or work in areas of the world where hepatitis A is common
  • Attend childcare or work in a childcare center
  • Live with another person who has hepatitis A
  • Have any type of sexual contact with someone who has hepatitis A
  • Are HIV positive
  • Have a clotting-factor disorder, such as hemophilia
  • Use any type of illegal drugs (not just those that are injected)

HOW IS HEPATITIS A DIAGNOSED?

  • Through a blood screening test
  • The test cost the average rage of Kes.  1,500-4,500
  • The tests are available at trusted labs and hospital. You can follow this link for an offer at Imara Mediplus Hospital for a discounted test.  https://www.imaramed.org/

If I have had hepatitis A in the past, can I get it again?

  • Once you recover from hepatitis A, you develop antibodies that protect you from the virus for life. (An antibody is a substance found in the blood that the body produces in response to a virus. They protect the body from disease by attaching to the virus and destroying it.)

How soon after exposure to hepatitis A will symptoms appear?

  • If symptoms occur, they usually start appearing 4 weeks after exposure, but can occur as early as 2 and as late as 7 weeks after exposure. Symptoms usually develop over a period of several days.

 

How long do hepatitis A symptoms last?

  • Symptoms usually last less than 2 months, although some people (10%–15%) with hepatitis A can have symptoms for as long as 6 months.

 

Can a person spread hepatitis A without having symptoms?

  • Many people, especially children, have no symptoms. In addition, a person can transmit the virus to others up to 2 weeks before symptoms appear.

 

How is hepatitis A treated?

  • Un-vaccinated people who have been exposed recently (within 2 weeks) to the hepatitis A virus should get the hepatitis A vaccine or a shot of immune globulin to prevent severe illness. To treat the symptoms of hepatitis A, doctors usually recommend rest, adequate nutrition, and fluids. Some people will need medical care in a hospital. It can take a few months before people with hepatitis A begin to feel better.

HOW CAN IT BE PREVENTED

  • Vaccinations
  • Practice hygiene eg. Proper hand hygiene after using the bathroom, using clean uncontaminated water for drinking or cooking

 

Reference:

  1. Division of Viral Hepatitis, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
  2. Lai M. Hepatitis A virus infection in adults: An overview. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Aug. 8, 2017.

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