Hepatitis A


Hepatitis refers to inflammation of the liver caused by exposure to toxins, alcohol misuse, immune diseases or infection. Viruses cause the majority of cases of hepatitis. Most adults with hepatitis A have symptoms, including fatigue, low appetite, stomach pain, nausea and jaundice that usually resolve within 2 months of infection. Most children less than 6 years of age do not have symptoms or have an unrecognized infection. Hepatitis A is a type of hepatitis that results from infection by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). This is an acute (short-term) type of hepatitis, which usually requires no treatment. Practicing good hygiene, including washing hands frequently. It is one of the best ways to protect against hepatitis A. Vaccines are available for people most at risk.

Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable, communicable disease of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). It is usually transmitted person-to-person through the fecal-oral route or consumption of contaminated food or water. The hepatitis A virus usually isn’t dangerous. Almost everyone who has it gets better. But because it can take a while to go away, you’ll need to take care of yourself in the meantime.  Hepatitis A is a self-limited disease that does not result in chronic infection. Antibodies produced in response to hepatitis A infection last for life and protect against re infection. The best way to prevent hepatitis A infection is to get vaccinated.

Symptoms for Hepatitis A:

Older children, teens and adults usually develop mild symptoms, which can include:

  • Fatigue
  • flu-like symptoms (fever, fatigue, body aches)
  • Sudden nausea and vomiting
  • Jaundice
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort, especially on the upper right side beneath your lower ribs (by your liver)
  • Light colored stool
  • Itching
  • Clay-colored bowel movements
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Low-grade fever
  • Dark urine
  • Vomiting
  • Joint pain
  • Yellowing of the skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice)
  • Diarrhea

Hepatitis A Causes

Hepatitis A is caused by a virus that infects liver cells and causes inflammation. The virus most commonly spreads when you eat or drink something contaminated with fecal matter, even just tiny amounts. It does not spread through sneezing or coughing. You can catch the disease by drinking water or eating food that’s been contaminated by someone with the virus. You can also get hepatitis A if you:

  • Eat fruits, vegetables or other foods handled or prepared by a person who has the virus.
  • drinking polluted water.
  • Eat raw shellfish harvested from water where the virus lives.
  • Being in close contact with a person who’s infected even if that person has no signs or symptom.
  • Travel to countries where hepatitis A is common.
  • Swallow contaminated ice.
  • Have sex with someone who has it.
  • Use recreational drugs, even without needles.
  • Eating raw shellfish from water polluted with sewage.
  • coming in contact with hepatitis A-infected fecal matter.
  • Touch your mouth after touching a contaminated object.
  • A man who has sex with men.


Blood tests are used to look for signs of the hepatitis A virus in your body. A sample of blood is taken, usually from a vein in your arm. It’s sent to a laboratory for testing. Some people have only a few symptoms and no signs of jaundice. Without visible signs of jaundice, it’s hard to diagnose any form of hepatitis through a physical examination. When symptoms are minimal, hepatitis A can remain undiagnosed. Complications due to a lack of diagnosis are rare.


Getting a hepatitis A vaccine or an injection of immunoglobulin (an antibody) within two weeks of exposure to hepatitis A may protect you from infection.

There is no formal treatment for hepatitis A. Because it’s a short-term viral infection that goes away on its own, treatment is typically focused on reducing your symptoms. You receive the injection of the hepatitis A vaccine in the muscle of your upper arm. Start the vaccine series when you are at risk of infection and at least one month before traveling. You need two doses at least six months apart. There are also combination vaccines for adults that protect against both hepatitis A and hepatitis B. After a few weeks of rest, the symptoms of hepatitis A usually begin to improve.

  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Take Rest Many people with hepatitis A infection feel tired and sick and have less energy.
  • Maintain a healthy diet.
  • Drink fruit juice or milk rather than water. Drinking plenty of fluids is important to prevent dehydration if vomiting occurs.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Take care of your skin. Some people with hepatitis A get very itchy. Keep your house cool, wear loose clothes and skip very hot baths and showers.

 How to Prevent (Prevention is better than cure)

Hepatitis A is inflammation (irritation and swelling) of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus. You can take several steps to prevent catching or spreading the virus.

  • Always wash your hands thoroughly after using the restroom and when you come in contact with an infected person’s blood, stools or other bodily fluid.
  • Drink bottled water rather than local water in developing countries, or in countries where there’s a high risk of contracting hepatitis A.
  • Beware of sliced fruit that may have been washed in contaminated water. Travelers should peel all fresh fruits and vegetables themselves.
  • Avoid eating peeled or raw fruit and vegetables in an area with low sanitation or hygienic standards.
  • DO NOT buy food from street vendors.
  • Use only carbonated bottled water for brushing teeth and drinking in areas where the water may be unsafe.
  • Dine at established, reputable restaurants, rather than from street vendors.
  • Avoid all beverages of unknown purity, with or without ice.
  • If bottled water isn’t available, boil tap water before drinking it.

In rare cases, hepatitis A can cause a sudden loss of liver function, especially in older adults or people with chronic liver diseases.

Hope this Symptoms and cure article will be helpful to all. Do not forget to share your valuable suggestions if any.

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