Hepatitis A is a serious viral infection of the liver caused by the virus called Hepatitis A Virus (HAV). It is also known as infectious hepatitis.
It is a most common viral hepatitis type all over the world. It generally causes temporary liver inflammation (to swell) and stops functioning of the liver properly.
Liver is an essential part of the body to transform food into energy and produce bile for easy food digestion.
It also helps kill the germs that enter your body. It removes poisons from your blood.
It can spread easily from person to person through oral contacts (hand to mouth). In an infected person, this virus type can be found in the bowel movements and is passed in the stool (feces).
This virus can easily spread when an infected person go to the bathroom and doesn’t wash his hands properly and prepares food or make oral (hand/mouth) contacts. So, when you keep something into your mouth that is contaminated can easily infect with the hepatitis A virus.
The virus can also be transmitted through sexual activities with an infected person where feces may enter your body through mouth and by sharing the cigarette or injecting equipment.
With hepatitis A, you may not exhibit noticeable symptoms. However, if symptoms appear then they usually take around 2-6 weeks from the time you get infected. The symptoms will be mild and disappear by themselves.
With hepatitis A, you may experience fatigue, nausea, vomiting, dehydration, headache, fever, flu-like illness, diarrhea, jaundice, loss of appetite, weight loss, pain in the liver, and itching all over the body. In some cases, you may pass urine in dark brownish color.
Remember that the symptoms will appear not more than eight weeks. However, the symptoms may reoccur within nine months. It is found that approximately 15% of hepatitis A sufferers will develop symptoms repeatedly for 6-9 months.
Always consult your doctor, if you find nausea and vomiting more than one or two days, jaundice or change in your urine color.
No specific treatment is available for hepatitis A. However, there are supportive therapies to treat the condition. The initial treatment for hepatitis A will be complete bed rest.
Self-care is very important. Wash your hands properly whenever you use bathroom, keep your environments clean and tidy, drink plenty of boiled water, eat fresh cooked foods, and avoid alcohol consumption, forceful exercises, medications that are harmful to the liver.
You can also prevent the condition through vaccination. HAV vaccine is very effective in protecting you against hepatitis A virus. It is generally available in injection form.
Remember that hepatitis A vaccine cannot protect you from other hepatitis types.
Consult your doctor if you have exposed to hepatitis A recently. Your doctor may prescribe an injection called immune globulin to treat the condition in early stages.
Immune globulin consists of high levels of antibodies that fight against Hepatitis A virus. Remember that immune globulin should be taken possibly within 2-6 weeks after you get infected with hepatitis A virus.