Hepatitis A is a prevalent health problem around the globe. In the US, around 1.6% of African-American females experience its symptoms, whereas 1.7% of Hispanic females lost their lives to this viral disease in 2015.
It’s basically a liver infection that leads to inflammation. Poor standards of hygiene and an unhealthy lifestyle are the major reasons why people suffer from this disease. However, the good news is that a majority of hepatitis A patients recover from this disease and live a long and healthy life.
Causes of Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious disease that spreads by Hepatitis A Virus. A person develops this disease when they ingest food contaminated with fecal matter of a person with hepatitis A. Moreover, direct contact with a hepatitis A patient can also lead to this health problem. Once this virus enters your body, it causes inflammation and affects the functions of your liver.
Hepatitis A virus usually spreads in households when an infected person prepares meals without washing hands. Eating raw shellfish contaminated with sewage also increases the risk of this disease. Moreover, unprotected sex with a patient can also lead to hepatitis A.
If you live in a developed country with good sanitary conditions, you’re less likely to catch this infectious disease. However, if you live in a developing country where hygiene conditions aren’t satisfactory, you are at a higher risk of suffering from hepatitis A at some point in life.
Although hepatitis A is a highly contagious disease, it doesn’t spread by being coughed or sneezed on by an infected person. Hugging or holding hands of a person suffering from hepatitis A is also safe. Babies can’t get hepatitis A virus from breast milk, so you can breastfeed them. But it’s recommended to discuss it with your doctor beforehand just to be on the safe side.
Symptoms of Hepatitis A
The symptoms of this disease usually appear a few weeks after the virus enters your body. Here are some common signs that can indicate you’re suffering from hepatitis A:
- Yellowish eyes
- Stomach pain
- Loss of appetite
- Light-colored stool
- Dark-colored urine
Diagnosis and Treatment
If you experience the above symptoms, you should visit your doctor for the possible diagnosis. With the help of a blood test, your doctor will determine whether you’ve developed hepatitis A.
Its symptoms usually go away within a few weeks. But in some patients, the condition prevails for up to 6 months. Your doctor may prescribe medicines to relieve the symptoms.
Immune serum globulin in a vaccine can help develop resistance against HAV in your body. If you’re exposed to this virus, you should go for vaccination within 2 weeks of exposure to stay safe from this contagious disease.
Hepatitis is a short-term viral liver disease. There’s no formal cure for this disease. Instead, doctors prescribe medications to decrease its symptoms. Getting ample rest and drinking plenty of water can speed up the recovery process.
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