What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Hepatitis A
You may have no symptoms. Symptoms usually begin between 28 to 30 days after exposure to HAV, but it may be up to 50 days. You may have the following signs and symptoms:
- Low fever, usually under 100.4°F
- Dark urine or pale bowel movements
- Nausea, vomiting, or loss of appetite
- Pain in the right upper side of your abdomen
- Jaundice and itchy skin
How Can You Avoid Hepatitis A
The best way to prevent hepatitis A is to bevaccinated. People with certain risk factors andhealth problems need this vaccine. Ask your doctor ifthe vaccine is right for you. You cannot get hepatitisA from the vaccine. Hepatitis A vaccination isrecommended for:
- All children at age 1 year
- People who use injection and non-injection illegal drugs
- People with chronic liver diseases, such as hepatitis B or hepatitis C
- People with bleeding problems who take clotting factors
- People whose work has a risk for hepatitis A infection
- People who live in areas with high rates of hepatitis A infection
- Travelers to countries that have high rates of hepatitis A. These include:
CDC’s Travelers’ Health site has information about hepatitis A and other vaccines.
Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent hepatitis A.
Other ways to avoid hepatitis A:
- Boil water or drink bottled water in places where the water may not be clean.
- Eat cooked foods and fruits that you can peel. Avoid eating uncooked vegetables or fruits that could have been washed with dirty water, such as lettuce.
- Avoid eating raw or steamed shellfish such as oysters. Shellfish may live in dirty water.
- Use condoms correctly and every time you have sex.
- Clean hands often.
Who Is Most Affected
Anyone who has not been vaccinated or previously infected can become infected with HAV. The most common risk factors among people with new HAV infections include: 1) drug use 2) having sex with an infected person 3) coming in direct contact with persons who have HAV infection 4) homelessness and 5) traveling to countries where HAV infection is more common.
For countries where HAV infection is common, the risk factors are poor sanitation and lack of clean, safe drinking water.
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How Do I Avoid Getting Sick
These tips will help protect you and your family from Hepatitis A:
- Wash your hands after using the washroom and changing diapers, and before preparing or eating food.
- When travelling, especially to developing countries:
- drink water from a safe supply
- avoid ice cubes in drinks
- eat only freshly cooked food
- avoid non-peelable raw fruit or vegetables
Also, these safe food practices will reduce your risk of contracting Hepatitis A and other foodborne illnesses.
What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Hav Infection
Hepatitis A can be a mild infection, particularly in kids younger than 6, so many people might not ever know that they had an infection.
When symptoms do happen, they typically start 2 to 6 weeks after exposure to the virus and are more likely in adults and kids older than 6. HAV can cause vomiting and diarrhea, as well as fever, loss of appetite, darker than usual urine , jaundice , and abdominal pain.
HAV infections that cause serious symptoms can last for weeks or even months. Some people with HAV can feel ill for up to 6 months.
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For How Long Is An Infected Person Able To Spread The Virus
The contagious period begins one to two weeks before symptoms appear, and is minimal about one week after the onset of jaundice. Food workers should be excluded from work for at least two weeks after the onset of clinical symptoms of hepatitis A. If jaundiced, food workers should not return to work for at least one week after onset of jaundice.
What Is Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A is a viral infection that causes liver inflammation and damage. Inflammation is swelling that occurs when tissues of the body become injured or infected. Inflammation can damage organs.
Viruses invade normal cells in your body. Many viruses cause infections that can be spread from person to person. The hepatitis A virus typically spreads through contact with food or water that has been contaminated by an infected persons stool.
Hepatitis A is an acute or short-term infection, which means people usually get better without treatment after a few weeks. In rare cases, hepatitis A can be severe and lead to liver failure and the need for an emergency liver transplant to survive. Hepatitis A does not lead to long-term complications, such as cirrhosis, because the infection only lasts a short time.
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Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- Do I need treatment?
- What treatment is best for me?
- Will I need be hospitalized?
- Are there any medicines I should avoid taking?
- Are there foods I should avoid eating?
- Can I drink alcohol?
- How can I protect my family from getting hepatitis A?
- If Ive had hepatitis A, am I at higher risk of getting other types of hepatitis?
- Will I have permanent liver damage?
- How soon before I travel should I be vaccinated?
Managing Fever After Immunisation
Common side effects following immunisation are usually mild and temporary . Specific treatment is not usually required.There are a number of treatment options that can reduce the side effects of the vaccine including:
- Drinking extra fluids to drink and not overdressing if there is a fever.
- Although routine use of paracetamol after vaccination is not recommended, if fever is present, paracetamol can be taken check the label for the correct dose or speak with your pharmacist .
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What Is The Outlook
Most people with hepatitis A recover without any complications. Once youve had hepatitis A, you cant get it again. Antibodies to the virus will protect you for life.
Some people may be at an increased risk for serious illness from hepatitis A. These include:
- older adults
acute hepatitis B infections in the United States in 2018.
How Is Hepatitis A Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will listen to your symptoms and will take a blood test to confirm the diagnosis of hepatitis A. If the test finds immunoglobulin M antibodies, you have an acute hepatitis A. If there are antibodies, but not IgM antibodies, you are immune to the virus either because you had a case of it and recovered, or you got the hepatitis A vaccine.
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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.
How Do People Get Sick
Hepatitis viruses are spread from person to person through contact with infected feces , either directly or indirectly . People can carry the virus without showing symptoms, then spread it to other people, foods or surfaces.
People can get Hepatitis A after eating contaminated food and beverages. Food and drinks can become contaminated through:
- a contaminated food handler
- hands that were not washed properly after using the washroom
- contamination during harvest, manufacturing and processing
Common food sources of Hepatitis A include:
- contaminated water
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How Is Hepatitis A Treated
There is no formal treatment for hepatitis A. Because its a short-term viral infection that goes away on its own, treatment is typically focused on reducing your symptoms.
After a few weeks of rest, the symptoms of hepatitis A usually begin to improve. To ease your symptoms, you should:
- avoid alcohol
Managing Injection Site Discomfort
Many vaccine injections may result in soreness, redness, itching, swelling or burning at the injection site for one to 2 days. Paracetamol might be required to ease the discomfort. Sometimes a small, hard lump at the injection site may persist for some weeks or months. This should not be of concern and requires no treatment.
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How Is Hepatitis A Transmitted
HAV is highly contagious. It is spread primarily when a person ingests the virus from food, drinks, or objects that have been contaminated by small amounts of stool from an infected person sex with an infected person, particularly if it involves anal-oral contact and through injection drug use. In crowded, unsanitary conditions, HAV can be spread quickly and cause outbreaks by exposure to contaminated water or food .
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
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What About Pregnancy
Hepatitis A vaccine does not contain live virus, so the risk tothe baby is expected to be low. However, the safety of hepatitisA vaccination during pregnancy is not known. The risk of thevaccination should be weighed against the risk for hepatitis A inpregnant women. Ask your health care provider if the vaccine isright for you.
How Is It Spread
Hepatitis A is spread by coming in contact with thehepatitis A virus. This includes:
- Contact with any person infected with the hepatitis A virus
- Sexual contact with an infected person
- Touching contaminated surfaces and then placing your hands near or in your mouth
- Sharing eating utensils that have virus on them
- Eating food or drinking water that has been contaminated by feces that contain the virus. The food and drinks most likely to be contaminated are:
In the United States, chlorine in the water kills hepatitisA virus. But infected food workers can still spreadhepatitis A directly to food. This occurs when hands arenot washed or cleaned before food is handled.
Infected people can spread the virus to others a few weeks before they begin to feel bad.
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Hepatitis A Vaccine And Travel
If youâre going to a country where hepatitis A is common and youâve never had the virus or the vaccine, start the vaccination process as soon as you can. It takes 2 to 4 weeks after the first dose for the vaccine to work, but even one shot a few days before you leave will give you some protection.
People who are allergic to something in the vaccine and children younger than 6 months might instead get a shot of immune globulin , which will protect against hepatitis A for up to 2 months.
Can Bleach Or Cleaner Kill Hepatitis A
Disinfectant that contains bleach can kill the hepatitis A virus on hard non-porous surfaces like toilet seats. However, freezing does not kill HAV.
If you cook food that is contaminated for one minute at cooking temperatures higher than 185ºF , it will kill HAV. However, food can be contaminated after cooking, so it is very important to wash your hands well with soap and water.
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Are There Complications From Hepatitis A
In extremely rare cases, hepatitis A can lead to acute liver failure. This complication is most common in older adults and people who already have chronic liver disease. If this occurs, you will be hospitalized. Even in cases of liver failure, a full recovery is likely. Very rarely is a liver transplant required.
Reducing The Risk Of Hepatitis A
Protecting yourself from hepatitis A
The most important action you can take to protect yourself against hepatitis A is to get vaccinated.
Practising strict personal hygiene is also essential to reducing the risk of hepatitis A. Steps you can take include:
- Wash your hands with soap and hot running water before handling food, after going to the toilet and after handling used condoms or having contact with nappies or the anal area of another person. Use a clean towel to dry your hands.
- Use barrier protection when engaging in oral-anal sex and avoid sex with someone who is infected with the hepatitis A virus.
- Vaccination may prevent illness if given within 2 weeks of contact with an infectious person.
- Clean bathrooms and toilets often, paying attention to toilet seats, handles, taps and nappy change tables.
- Boil your drinking water if it comes from an untreated source, such as a river.
- If you are travelling overseas, particularly to countries where hepatitis A is widespread, take special care to avoid hepatitis A. Before travelling, talk to your doctor about immunisation for protection.
Protecting others from hepatitis A
If you have hepatitis:
- Wash eating utensils in soapy water, and machine wash linen and towels.
Household contacts and sexual partners of an infectious person may need to be immunised.
All people who have hepatitis A should check with their doctor before returning to work or school.
Protecting yourself from hepatitis A when overseas
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Immunisation Against Hepatitis A
Immunisation is the best protection against hepatitis A infection and is recommended for people in high-risk groups, and for unvaccinated people who have been in close contact with someone who has hepatitis A.
Immunisation against hepatitis A includes a course of injections over a 6 to 12-month period. Healthy people 12 months of age and over receive 2 doses of hepatitis A vaccine, or 3 doses if the hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccines are given as a combination.
You can complete any missed vaccine doses, even if the recommended time frame has passed. You do not need to start the vaccine course again.
If you are in close contact with someone who has hepatitis A be sure to have the hepatitis A vaccine if you have not already completed a vaccine course.
Babies under 12 months of age and people who have a weakened immune system who are also in close contact with a person with hepatitis A can have an injection of normal human immunoglobulin instead of the hepatitis A vaccine.
Protection against hepatitis A is available free of charge under the National Immunisation Program Schedule for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who live in high-risk areas .
Does Hepatitis A Always Cause Symptoms
There’s a lot of variety in how people feel when they have the disease. It’s possible you might not have any symptoms. But people often feel and look sick. You might even need to go to the hospital.
Symptoms and complications are more common as you get older. Most children under age 6 with hep A don’t have any.
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How Can I Prevent The Spread Of Hav
You are most contagious in the 2 weeks before and the first week after you become jaundiced. Your friends, sex partners, and family members may need to get the hepatitis A vaccine. If you already have hepatitis A, it is too late to get the vaccine. The following are important things you can do to keep from spreading the infection:
- Do not share dishes or utensils. Soak dishes and utensils in boiling water. Then wash them, or use a dishwasher. You may want to use disposable dishes.
- Do not prepare food or meals for other people.
- Wash clothing and bedding in the hottest water setting.
- Clean toilets with a product that kills germs.
- Let your healthcare provider know if your work involves preparing or serving food, or close physical contact with other people. If you do this kind of work, the health department will need to evaluate if these people have been exposed to hepatitis A. You cannot return to work until your healthcare provider says it is safe.
How Can You Prevent Hepatitis A
There is a vaccine, made from an inactivateddeadvirus to prevent hepatitis A. If you are not sure you have had the vaccine, you can ask your doctor to test you to see if you have been vaccinated.
You can also practice good hand washing hygiene. Make sure you use soap and warm water to wash your hands for at least 15 to 30 seconds after you use the toilet, change diapers, and before and after touching food.
If you are traveling in another country, especially a developing country, drink only bottled water and use only bottled water to brush your teeth, wash your produce, and freeze for ice cubes.
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What Does The Government Do To Protect Me
In Canada, several government organizations work together every day to keep your food safe:
- Health Canada makes food safety standards and policies to help minimize the risk of foodborne illnesses.
- The Canadian Food Inspection Agency enforces these policies and standards and carries out inspections to make sure the food industry meets its food safety responsibilities. The CFIA works with Health Canada to make sure that foodborne illness is detected early and warnings go out to the public quickly.
- The Public Health Agency of Canada studies the incidence and causes of diseases in Canada, conducts outbreak surveillance, and coordinates outbreak response.
The Government of Canada works very hard to protect your health and safety:
- We are carrying out a five-year Food and Consumer Safety Action Plan, to strengthen and modernize Canada’s safety system and make sure you can have confidence in the quality and safety of the food, health and consumer products you buy.
- We are investing $75 million more in Canada’s food safety system to hire more inspectors, update lab technology, and improve communication with Canadians.
- We support and participate in public awareness campaigns about safe food practices, like the Canadian Partnership for Consumer Food Safety Education’s Be Food Safe program, which encourages Canadian consumers to think of food safety at every step of the food handling process, from shopping for groceries to re-heating leftovers.