Hepatitis A is a sometimes fatal, but often recoverable, viral disease of the liver. It damages and affects the liver. Hepatitis A is communicable and direct contact with the food, drinks or other things contaminated by the facets of a patient can put one at risk of contracting it. Many a time, shooting heroin and other potent drugs, or anal intercourse have been determined as the causes for Hepatitis A. Poor hygiene and sub-standard sanitation can also be responsible for indirect spreading of Hepatitis A.
The symptoms of Hepatitis A can last for several days before they subside. That said, Hepatitis infection can be positively problematic. Just one bout of infection can permanently damage and impair your immune system, making you prone to illnesses. While this is true, it is also true that you can get lifelong immunity against Hepatitis A after contracting and treating the first infection
Vaccination is available and encouraged, to keep away from hepatitis. Vaccine is dispensed in three doses for Hepatitis A and B. However, Hepatitis A, B and C are very different from each other as they are transmitted through different viruses. Therefore, treatment of one won’t buttress your system against the others.
The incubation period for hepatitis virus is 28 days on an average. Symptoms can start showing anytime between 15 to 50 days from contraction. However, among children below 5 years of age, symptoms can be harder to spot. Inflammation of the liver can result into following symptoms:
- Stomach ache
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Tiredness, fatigue and restlessness
These symptoms can manifest anytime after the first 2 weeks. A blood test will confirm hepatitis. Many times, the symptoms can last for about 6 to 9 months. In rare cases, it may lead to a liver failure, making transplants necessary.
Relapses are extremely uncommon and have been observed in only 10% of cases. However, fulminant hepatitis can result from a relapse. This leads to liver failure and an increased risk of death among the aged and the elderly.
Hepatitis does not have a proper treatment or a cure, apart from vaccination. However, certain common practices can behoove the patient.
- Rest – hepatitis A can make you tired and sapped. Try to get as much rest as possible if you are suffering from hepatitis A
- Hepatitis can make you nauseated and this in turn can make you feel weaker, by causing an aversion to meals. Try to partake of several small portions through the day, to curb nausea and yet get your daily dose of essential energy.
- Take care of your liver. Try to avoid alcohol, needless to say. Do review your medication.
- Always wash your hands with warm, soapy water after using the toilet or changing diapers and before fixing food or eating.
- Use bottled water for drinking, making ice cubes, and washing fruits and vegetables when you are in a developing country
- Tell your doctor and your dentist if you have hepatitis A.
- If you have been in close contact with a person suffering from Hepatitis A, you should receive the vaccine if you have not yet completed a course already.
- For infants and babies under 12 months of age and for people who have an impaired immunity, an injection of normal human immunoglobulin can be used. As has been mentioned before immunization is the only method of protect against hepatitis A. A course of injections is highly recommended to all those who have high chances of contracting or falling prey to Hep A.
- This immunization is not generally recommended for pregnant women and lactating mothers. It is crucial to consult your doctor immediately if you notice symptoms that point towards hepatitis A. If you are not already immune to it, you may have a greater risk of infection during pregnancy. Exercise extreme caution and be doubly circumspect about sanitation at such times.
Are there any risks of side effects associated with Hepatitis A
As with most vaccines and immunization, some side-effects can be observed post getting the hepatitis A injection as well. For the most part the vaccine is effective and safe, however a few, mild irritants may crop up. These are as follows-
- Localized pains, redness, swelling and itchiness where the needle entered your body.
- A mild, low-grade temperature fever that soon subsides.
If some severe and unexpected side effects show up, rush to your doctor and seek help. In some cases, there may be a very small, almost negligible risk of an allergic reaction to the vaccine. This is also known as anaphylaxis. This is not very serious and solution can be made available. It is for this reason that you are advised to stay back at the clinic for 15 minutes after immunization.
To summarize, here are a few things that you will do well to remember about Hepatitis A
1) Hepatitis affects your liver and is a viral disease.
2) Symptoms are rarely visible and obvious among children.
4) Vaccination is the only truly reliable method to protect yourself and your loved ones from Hepatitis A
5) Immunization can lead to innocuous side-effects. Do not panic and consult your doctor immediately upon facing some of these. Remember also, that these side-effects are generally mild and almost always temporary.
Liver is an extremely important organ. With Hepatitis A you stand the risk of facing liver failure. Therefore, it is pertinent to look out for yourself, maintain general hygiene, be doubly careful in developing nations or poorer countries where sanitation is not one the primary concerns.
Observe abstinence for at least 6 months after having suffered from Hepatitis A. A relapse may be uncommon but it is not impossible. Take care of your liver, eat healthy meals and wash your hands thoroughly. Prevention is better than cure. At the end of the day, your health rests in your hands.