Hepatitis A is a contagious infection that affects the liver. Learn more about its transmission, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment. Hepatitis A is a contagious viral infection that affects the liver. The hepatitis A virus causes an infection that can be easily spread from person to person through fecal contamination. It can be prevented by a vaccine. This article will explain
Hepatitis A is a contagious viral infection that affects the liver. The hepatitis A virus causes an infection that can be easily spread from person to person through fecal contamination. It can be prevented by a vaccine. This article will explain its transmission, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.
Hepatitis A primarily spreads when you come in contact with the stool of a person who has the virus, and it enters your body through your digestive system—often through contaminated food or water. This is known as the fecal-oral route of transmission.
This infection is very contagious, which means it spreads easily. It takes only microscopic amounts of contamination to spread the virus, so you will often be unaware that you have been exposed.
Transmission of the virus can happen by:
You have a higher risk of getting hepatitis A if you:
You may not have symptoms right away or at all. Symptoms usually show up two to seven weeks after you are infected. Usually, symptoms last up to two months, but some people may have them for six months.
Common symptoms of hepatitis A include:
To diagnose hepatitis A, your healthcare provider will:
Although there are no specific medications or treatments to cure hepatitis A, you may need to:
Before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medications, supplements, or herbal remedies, talk to your healthcare provider. Some of these can further impair your liver and can lead to complications.
You will also need to take care not to spread the hepatitis A virus while you have the condition. Don't prepare food or drink for other people. Be diligent in washing your hands after using the restroom and before eating or preparing food. It's best to avoid close contact with other people, especially for the three weeks after you start to have symptoms.
Most people make a full recovery and do not have any complications. Rarely, some people may have liver failure, which is more likely to happen if they:
The hepatitis A virus is hardy, and it can remain contagious for months outside of the body. Freezing does not kill it, but high temperatures do. Heat food or water to 185 degrees Fahrenheit for at least one minute before cooling to make it safe to eat or drink.
The hepatitis A vaccine is the best way to prevent infection. Children between the ages of 12 months and 23 months receive a hepatitis A vaccine. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have not received the hepatitis A vaccine.
Other ways to prevent infection include:
Hepatitis A is a virus that spreads easily and affects your liver. Some people may not have any symptoms. Others develop symptoms such as fever, nausea, and jaundice that can last for two months. There is no specific treatment other than supportive measures. The hepatitis A vaccine can help prevent this infection.
If you think that you may have hepatitis A, talk to a healthcare provider right away to get tested. It is important to know if you are infected, so you can take precautions and prevent others from getting sick.
If you have hepatitis A, follow your healthcare provider's recommendations for recovery. Most people can make a full recovery over time and have no complications.
No, there is no specific cure for hepatitis A. However, the hepatitis A vaccine can prevent infection.
Some people do not show any symptoms after infection. Adults and children over the age of 6 are more likely to have symptoms.
Developing countries are more likely to have sanitation problems and limited access to clean water. Contamination in water and food is also more common in developing countries.
In the United States, hepatitis A is not common, and only 3,366 people were infected in 2017.