If you are wondering what is hepatitis A, it is one of the most contagious liver diseases caused explicitly by the hepatitis A virus. Out of the many hepatitis viruses, the hepatitis A virus is the most dangerous one that causes extensive inflammation in the liver, restricting it from performing optimally. The primary method of getting hepatitis A is through contact with a contaminated person, object, or polluted water or food. Most people suffering from mild hepatitis A get cured without much treatment. But treatment is mandatory before the liver is completely damaged when it takes a severe shape.
If you practice good hygiene, wash your hands frequently before eating, eat clean and drink clean, you can easily battle hepatitis A or even get full-blown prevention. Here in this article, we dive deeper into the symptoms, causes, prevention, and treatments of hepatitis A.
Symptoms of Hepatitis A
Usually, hepatitis A symptoms are not visible for the first few weeks. After the first few weeks, the symptoms are visible when the virus takes a grip over your liver's immune system. However, not every person who carries the hepatitis A virus shows symptoms, and it becomes even more challenging to detect and treat that person.
Here are some common Hepatitis A symptoms seen in a person afflicted with the virus:
Extreme fatigue and tiredness.
Sudden and uncontrolled vomiting and nausea.
Upper abdominal pain and discomfort near the liver and lower ribcage areas.
Clay-colored bowel clearance.
Sudden loss of appetite.
Sudden bursts of fever that can last a few hours.
Dark and uncomfortable urination.
Pain in various joints and parts of the body.
Jaundice symptoms where the skin and the whites of the eyes turn yellowish.
Extreme itching at multiple parts of the body.
These are some mild symptoms that a person affected with hepatitis A shows. While mild symptoms go away in a few days without disturbing much, serious illness can be caused if the symptoms and discomfort persist. In that case, the person should immediately consult the doctor for further treatment.
Causes of Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A is caused by the hepatitis A virus that affects the liver by inflammation of the liver cells. This causes the liver to malfunction. This inflammation is also in charge of showing the various signs and symptoms.
The virus does not spread through the conventional method of sneezing or coughing. It spreads unusually when you eat or drink something that has particulates of infected faecal matter. Here are some specific ways you can be affected by hepatitis A.
Sharing or eating food from someone infected with the hepatitis virus does not wash their hands properly. The virus can be transmitted through food.
Drinking polluted water.
Eating raw food like fish and vegetables that have either been not appropriately cleaned or are taken from contaminated areas.
Being in close contact with someone carrying the hepatitis virus. This can lead to infection even if the other person does not show signs.
Having sexual intercourse with an infected person.
Risk Factors of Hepatitis A
You are at an increased risk of getting hepatitis A if you do the following things:
Travel or work constantly in a place that has frequent cases of hepatitis A.
Attend child care or hospital with patients full of hepatitis A.
Live or share a space with a person with someone who has hepatitis A.
Have any type of sexual contact with an infected person.
Affected by HIV positive.
Have a clotting disorder like haemophilia.
Using any illegal and uncertified drugs.
Complications from Hepatitis A
One of the calming factors of hepatitis A is that it does not become chronic and can be treated well when diagnosed early. It does not cause long-term liver damage, unlike the other forms of hepatitis. If somehow you are affected by other liver disorders or are at an old age, hepatitis A can cause some damage to your liver.
If you have acute liver functioning failure cases, you must consult the doctor and stay under regular treatment. You might need to undergo liver transplant surgery in certain significant cases of acute liver failure.
Prevention of Hepatitis A
One of the effective methods to prevent hepatitis A is acquiring a vaccine. The vaccine is available in a two-shot method where the second or booster shot is given six months after the first shot.
Here is a list of people who should acquire a hepatitis A vaccine:
All children aged one or above should take this shot if not acquired previously.
Any child one year or older should take the shot if they experience any kind of homelessness.
Infants aged between 6 and 11 months who travel internationally should take the vaccine.
Family members have adopted children from countries where hepatitis A is a common disease.
People who are in direct contact with an infected person.
Laboratory workers and doctors who research and handle hepatitis A samples.
People who are into same-gender sexual intercourse.
People who work in areas where hepatitis A is common should take the vaccine.
Patients with clotting-factor disorder should take the shot.
People who suffer from chronic liver diseases like hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
Any person wishing to be immune from the hepatitis virus.
Treatment for Hepatitis A
There is no specific hepatitis A treatment as of yet. People affected by the hepatitis A virus should take proper medications from certified physicians or doctors. They should avoid the consumption of alcohol and illegal drugs at all costs. Moreover, they should get proper control and management over nausea, the leading cause of increased trouble when infected with hepatitis A.
Hepatitis A does not take a severe shape if treated properly and in time. The methods of prevention and treatment are pretty easy and can be done with constant consultation from the doctor. Not many medications are available to treat hepatitis A; hence, preventive methods should be kept in mind always. This can help to decrease the intensity of the disease even if affected.