HEALTH CONDITIONS

A comprehensive list of today's common ailments and health conditions.

Hepatitis A

By Shannon Pierce

Hepatitis A

 

To understand what Hepatitis A is, you should know that it is a form of viral hepatitis, or diseases that affect the liver. Different forms of hepatitis, such as hepatitis B and C are all treated differently and have different symptoms. 

 

Hepatitis A, specifically, is a very contagious infection of the liver caused by a virus.  It causes inflammation and prevents the liver from functioning properly. 

 

Symptoms

 

Symptoms of the disease do not typically show until weeks after contracting it. They may include but are not limited to, loss of appetite, fatigue, abdominal pain, stomach cramps, nausea, dark urine, vomiting, joint pain, clay-colored bowel movements, jaundice, or yellowing of the skin and eyes, low energy.

 

Causes

 

You can contract hepatitis A from coming in close contact with someone who is infected. You may come in contact with someone who is infected but shows no signs or symptoms. It can be transmitted when an infected person uses the bathroom, does not wash their hands, and prepares food.  Contaminated food or water are also common sources. Drinking water containing very small amounts of fecal matter is one way of contracting it.  Sometimes, people may consume seafood or raw shellfish that came from a contaminated water source. Sex is another common way that the virus is shared. Traveling internationally to countries with low water quality can increase your risk for contracting hepatitis A. Restaurants are required to report any outbreaks they may have experienced.

 

Diagnosis

 

Other than diagnosing your symptoms, doctors may provide a physical exam, a biopsy, blood tests, sonograms or CAT scans can reveal hepatitis A.

 

Treatments and drugs

 

Hepatitis A typically does not require any special treatment or drugs. For mild cases, our bodies are able to fight the virus on it’s own.  The liver typically heals within six months and the virus does not cause permanent damage to the liver.  Those infected may need to rest more often than they normally would, since they can experience low energy.  They may want to avoid medicinal drugs and alcohol, since the liver may have a hard time processing it.  For nausea symptoms, eating small meals or snacks throughout the day can be easier on the stomach than heavy meals. Drinking plenty of fluids can help ease the process. For energy and eating enough calories, drinking juices or milk can help you attain your calorie intake in place of water.

 

 

 

 

 


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