What Is Viral Hepatitis
Viral hepatitis is inflammation of the liver due to infection with viruses from the hepatotrophic family: hepatitis A , hepatitis B , hepatitis C , hepatitis D , and hepatitis E . Many other viruses can also cause hepatitis this review will focus on the skin changes associated with infection by the known hepatotrophic viruses.
Hepatitis C virus
Whats The Best Way To Stop The Spread Of Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A vaccination is the best way to prevent hepatitis A. The hepatitis A vaccine is given in 2 doses, usually about 6 months apart.
Other ways to stop the spread of HAV are:
- Always washing your hands with soap and warm water immediately after using the bathroom or changing a diaper
- Always washing your hands with soap and warm water before preparing or eating food
What The Doctor Does
The underlying disorder and any problems it causes are treated as needed. If jaundice is due to acute viral hepatitis Overview of Acute Viral Hepatitis Acute viral hepatitis is inflammation of the liver caused by infection with one of the five hepatitis viruses. In most people, the inflammation begins suddenly and lasts only a few weeks. Symptoms… read more , it may disappear gradually, without treatment, as the condition of the liver improves. However, hepatitis may become chronic, even if the jaundice disappears. Jaundice itself requires no treatment in adults .
Usually, itching gradually disappears as the liver’s condition improves. If itching is bothersome, taking cholestyramine by mouth may help. However, cholestyramine is ineffective when a bile duct is completely blocked.
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Liver Disease During Pregnancy
According to Tommys, a British charity, pregnant women may experience itching.
Although itching can occur during pregnancy due to stretching skin and hormones, it can also result from a liver condition called intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy .
With ICP, bile acids do not flow properly, and they build up in the body, causing itching.
Other symptoms of ICP include:
- itching, more noticeably on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet
- dark urine
You Have Slurred Speech And Confusion
When your liver isnt working to its full capacity, ammonia that isnt being processed begins circulating in your blood. When ammonia heads into the brain, this can lead to a serious condition called hepatic encephalopathy. Symptoms of this complication include slurred speech and confusion.
The bodys liver is the organ responsible for absorbing, transporting, and storing iron. If your liver is damaged and these processes are interrupted, you can become iron deficient.
Common symptoms of anemias seen with liver damage include:
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Are There Any Possible Complications
Serious illness is rare with hepatitis A infection. The illness can be unpleasant and make you feel quite ill however, most people make a full recovery. In a small number of cases, the infection can cause severe liver inflammation leading to liver failure. This is more common in older people who develop this infection. An extremely small number of people die from severe hepatitis A infection. A liver transplant can be life-saving if liver failure develops.
Somewhere between 1 to 2 in 10 people who get hepatitis A infection will seem to recover but will then have a return of their symptoms between about one and three months after their original illness. This is because the infection hadn’t cleared completely. This relapse will have similar symptoms to the initial illness. Some people can have a relapse of their symptoms more than once.
Why Does Liver Disease Cause Intense Itching And What To Do About It
Patients with liver diseases often experience the problem of itchy skin. Also known as pruritus, itchy skin is a common symptom of various liver problems such as cirrhosis and hepatitis C. It mostly happens during the night and patients mainly experience the itching on the palms of their hands and soles of their feet. It is a very distressing condition as it can adversely affect patients quality of life. Patients might suffer from sleep deprivation and depression from all the itching sensations.
What causes itchy skin?
The factors contributing to itchy skin in liver disease patients are still not clearly understood. However, based on current studies, it could be due to the following reasons:
1) Bile products being deposited in the skin: Liver diseases such as cirrhosis and hepatitis C often cause blockage of bile ducts. In this case, bile salts could not be cleared as usual and they are accumulated under the skin, causing itch.
2) Increased level of endogenous opioids: Endogenous opioids are found to induce itch in humans, and patients with liver diseases usually have a high level of it.
3) Presence of lysophosphatidic acid : A correlation was found between itching and the presence of lysophosphatidic acid , a component that induces itch, in patients with liver disease and pruritus.
How to manage it?
- * All research and clinical data should be used as reference purposes only, results may vary.
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Take Care When Eating And Drinking
You should avoid eating and drinking the following when travelling to high-risk countries:
- Raw or inadequately cooked shellfish.
- Raw salads and vegetables that may have been washed in dirty water.
- Other foods that may have been grown close to the ground such as strawberries.
- Untreated drinking water, including ice cubes made from untreated water.
- Unpasteurised milk, cheese, ice cream and other dairy products.
Also be careful when buying food from street traders. Make sure that food has been recently prepared and that it is served hot and on clean serving plates. Food that has been left out at room temperature or food that may have been exposed to flies could also pose a risk.
Note: if you have had hepatitis A infection, you will be immune to further infection. This means that you can’t catch the infection again.
How Long Does Hepatitis A Last
How long it lasts can vary from person to person. Symptoms can range from mild to severe. Some things to keep in mind:
- Mild hepatitis A may last 1 to 2 weeks.
- Most people are much better within 3 weeks.
- Young children who get symptoms usually get better within 2 months.
If you have a severe infection, it can cause problems for several months. You may need to stay in the hospital.
Some people have symptoms that can last more than 3 months or have problems that come and go for 3 to 9 months.
CDC: “Traveler’s Health: Hepatitis A,” “Viral Hepatitis,” Hepatitis A Questions and Answers for the Public,” “Hepatitis A Vaccine.”
National Health Service: “Hepatitis A — Complications.”
Mandell, G.L., Bennett, J.E., Dolin, R., editors, Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases, 7th edition, Elsevier Churchill Livingstone, 2009.
Long, S.S., editor, Principles and Practice of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, 3rd edition, Elsevier Churchill Livingstone, 2008.
American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases: “Hepatitis A Vaccine Recommendations.”
Mayo Clinic: âHepatitis A.â
UpToDate: âHepatitis A virus infection in adults: Epidemiology, clinical manifestations, and diagnosis.â
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How Does Hepatitis C Affect Your Body
Hepatitis C is an inflammation of the liver. The hepatitis C virus is most often transmitted through infected blood, such as by sharing needles, says Alexander Kuo, MD, medical director of liver transplantation at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles.
Sexual transmission is very uncommon, he says. In healthy adults, youre more likely to catch HCV by sharing a toothbrush or razor than through sexual contact. Using barrier methods during sex decreases the risk further.
People who contract HCV often dont realize they have it. During the early stages of infection, the vast majority of people are symptom free, Dr. Kuo says, so it can be difficult to diagnose before it has already done lasting damage to your liver.
People who may have been exposed children of women who have hepatitis C people who have gotten at-home tattoos and those whove used intravenous drugs should get a onetime blood test to screen for HCV even before they experience symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . People who actively inject drugs should have routine screenings.
Over time, the chronic inflammation from untreated hepatitis C can lead to fibrosis, or scarring, in the liver. Kuo cautions that if this continues for 20 or more years, there is a risk that the liver can become hard from severe fibrosis, resulting in a condition called cirrhosis.
Reasons Your Skin Itches Uncontrollably And How To Get Relief
When your skin itches, you may have a rash however, you can have intensely itchy skin and see nothing on your skin.
Mosquito bites, chickenpox, and poison ivy arent the only reasons for itchy skin. See what else may be causing your itch and what can bring relief.
Very dry skin. Extremely dry skin can be intensely itchy.How to get relief: Dermatologists offer these tips for relieving dry skin at, Dry skin: Tips for managing.
Bug bites. When a mosquito bites you, the cause of your itchy skin is usually obvious, and the itch tends to go away quickly. When bugs live on your skin or feed on you every night, the itch can be long-lasting and uncontrollable. Bugs that can cause long-lasting itch, include bed bugs, lice, and mites .How to get relief: You can find out what these bug bites look like and how to get rid of the itch at:
How to get relief:
Skin cancer. For many people, the only sign of skin cancer is a new or changing spot on their skin. Sometimes, that spot also itches and can be the only reason a person notices the spot.How to get relief:See a board-certified dermatologist to find out if you have skin cancer. If you have skin cancer, treating it can get rid of the itch.
Warning sign of a disease inside your body. Long-standing itch can be a sign of several diseases, including:
How to get relief:
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Skin Signs Of Acute Viral Hepatitis
- Jaundice and associated pruritus in icteric acute viral hepatitis
- Acute urticaria is commonly associated with viral infections including HAV, HBV, and HCV
- A transientexanthem may precede typical symptoms of acute HAV infection
- Serum-sickness-like reaction presents as urticaria, fever, headache, and joint pain in 2030% of patients with acute HBV
- Henoch-Schönlein purpura reported with HAV, HBV, HEV.
Skin changes of acute viral hepatitis
What Are The Symptoms Of The Hepatitis A Virus
Low energy is the most common symptom of HAV. Other symptoms include fever, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea, headache, itchy skin, muscle soreness, pain near the liver, and jaundice .
Symptoms of HAV can occur two to seven weeks after infection and are often mild. Children may not have any symptoms. Symptoms usually go away within two months. If you think you have HAV, it is important to see a doctor symptoms of HAV are similar to other more serious liver diseases.
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What Is The Treatment For Hepatitis A
There is no specific treatment needed for hepatitis A. It is usually a self-limiting illness, which means it usually goes away on its own. Your immune system will normally clear away the infection. Most people with hepatitis A infection don’t need to be admitted to hospital. However, admission to hospital may be suggested if you are severely ill or you are being sick and are lacking in fluid in the body .
Treatment is aimed at relieving your symptoms. It is common to feel more tired than usual when you have hepatitis A so you may need to have plenty of rest. Your doctor may be able to suggest some painkillers and some antisickness medication if needed. To help ease the symptom of itch, keep cool, wear loose clothing and avoid hot baths or showers. Avoiding fatty foods may help to reduce the feeling of sickness. Also, you should not drink alcohol whilst you are ill.
During your illness, your doctor may also want to keep a check on how your liver is working by repeating blood tests from time to time to look at this.
It is important to have excellent personal hygiene to reduce the risk of passing the virus on to others. Thoroughly wash your hands after going to the toilet. You should also avoid handling food and having unprotected sex when you are infected with the virus. Ask your doctor when it is safe for you to return to work, or for your child to return to school or nursery.
Living With Hbv And Dealing With Itchy Skin
The previous Hepbtalk blog discussed skin manifestations associated with hepatitis B and liver disease. This is a follow-up with some suggestions on dealing with rashes and pruritus skin. Unfortunately, I have experience with this.
Most people living with HBV have episodes with rashes that itch, or with an itch without the rash. Rashes can be caused by all kinds of things, but the skin truly does let us know when there is something going on with our body. We may not be able to eliminate the itch, but we can work on providing the body with a little relief, and to be sure we do not do anything to make the persistent itching worse.
First, consider the root of the problem. It is possible that your rash and itching are unrelated to the current status of your HBV infection. Unless you have serious liver disease, this might be difficult to pin down since many living with chronic HBV have compensated livers that perform all of the necessary liver functions required for life. That does not mean you arent going crazy with itchy skin, but it is important to look at other factors that may be contributing to your pruritus.
Here are some simple things you can do to help reduce the degree of pruritus:
Got any tips for reducing the itch? Feel free to comment and share your ideas with others living with HBV.
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Tips For Stopping The Itch
Below are some tips that may help control the incessant itching:
What Causes Autoimmune Hepatitis
Experts arent sure what causes autoimmune hepatitis. Studies suggest that certain genes make some people more likely to develop autoimmune diseases. In people with these genes, factors in the environment may trigger an autoimmune reaction that causes their immune system to attack the liver.
Researchers are still studying the environmental triggers that play a role in autoimmune hepatitis. These triggers may include certain viruses and medicines.
Some medicines can cause liver injury that resembles autoimmune hepatitis. In most cases, the liver injury goes away when the medicine is stopped. The most common medicines that cause liver injury that resembles autoimmune hepatitis are minocyclinean antibiotic used to treat acneand nitrofurantoinan antibiotic used to treat urinary tract infections. Telling your doctor the names of all the medicines you take, even over-the-counter medicines or herbal or botanical products, is important.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Hepatitis A
You can get the first symptoms anytime between 15 and 50 days after you came in contact with the virus. But they usually show up between about 2 and 4 weeks later.
Most people with hepatitis A usually have sudden:
- Extreme tiredness
If your child has hep A, they may also have:
- Cold symptoms
- Sore throat
If you’re over age 50 or have a long-term liver disease, you may have a more severe case of the disease called fulminant hepatitis A infection. You could have symptoms like:
- Spontaneous bleeding or easy bruising
- Confusion and changes in alertness
- Liver function that gets worse
- Yellowing of the skin and eyes that gets worse
What Is Hepatitis A
Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. There are a number of things that can cause hepatitis – for example, drinking too much alcohol, various drugs and chemicals and also several different viruses. One virus that causes hepatitis is called the hepatitis A virus. After first contact with the virus, hepatitis A virus is carried in the bloodstream to your liver. It can then affect your liver to cause hepatitis.
Note: hepatitis A should not be confused with hepatitis B or C. Hepatitis B and C are caused by different viruses and are more serious diseases. See the separate leaflets called Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C for more details.
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How Do You Get Hepatitis A And How Common Is It
Hepatitis A can affect anyone. The virus is passed out in the stools of infected people. In areas of poor sanitation, or where disposal of sewage is poor, hepatitis A can become common due to dirty water and food. This means you may become infected with hepatitis A by eating uncooked food prepared or washed in contaminated water, or by drinking contaminated water. Shellfish caught in contaminated water can also carry the hepatitis A virus. Someone who has hepatitis A infection may pass on the infection to others. This can occur through preparing food, or through close contact with another person, if they have not washed their hands properly after going to the toilet.
The highest-risk areas of the world for hepatitis A infection include: the Indian subcontinent , Africa, parts of the Far East , South and Central America and the Middle East.
Hepatitis A has become uncommon in parts of the world where sanitation is generally good, such as the UK and Western Europe. Most cases of hepatitis A infection in the UK are diagnosed in people returning home after travelling to a country where sanitation is poor and risk of hepatitis A infection is higher. Outbreaks in schools and families can sometimes occur in the UK, as the virus is quite easily passed on from person to person if personal hygiene is not good. For example, the virus may be passed on if infected people do not wash their hands after going to the toilet.