How Can I Avoid Getting Hepatitis A
There is a safe and effective vaccine that can protect you from getting hepatitis A. The vaccine is usually given in two doses six months apart. The vaccine will give you protection for up to 20 years. A combined vaccine for hepatitis A and hepatitis B is also available. Since up to 40% of the reported cases of hepatitis A occur in travellers, it is advisable to protect yourself with a hepatitis A vaccination six weeks before you leave.
Consider these additional safety precautions:
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly especially after using the washroom, before preparing food and before eating.
- Avoid raw or undercooked food.
- If you are travelling to countries with high rates of hepatitis A:
- Drink bottled or boiled water and use it for brushing your teeth.
- Drink bottled beverages without ice.
- Avoid uncooked food including salads.
- Avoid food from street vendors.
- Peel and wash fresh fruits and vegetables yourself.
What Causes Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A is caused by infection with the hepatitis A virus. You get the virus when you unknowingly eat a small amount of infected feces. This can happen through person-to-person contact, or through eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
A person can have and spread hepatitis A, even if that person does not have any symptoms. You are most likely to get hepatitis A from another person when:
- A person who has the virus does not wash their hands properly after going to the bathroom
- A parent does not wash their hands properly after changing the diaper of an infected child
- A caregiver does not wash their hands properly after cleaning up the stool of an infected person
- A person has sex with a person who has the virus
You can also get infected with hepatitis A by eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water. Contaminated food and water are more common in developing countries. When traveling in areas where hepatitis A is common, avoid eating raw fruits and vegetables, shellfish, ice, and untreated water.
What Are The Other Health Challenges For People With Hepatitis Who Inject Drugs
People with hepatitis who inject drugs often have several other health conditions at the same time, including mental illness and HIV/AIDS, thus requiring care from multiple health care providers. This is sometimes referred to as co-occurring disorders. Substance use disorder treatment is critical for PWID, as it can reduce risky behaviors that increase the chance of transmitting hepatitis. Research has shown that patients with hepatitis receiving medication-assisted treatment for their opioid addiction can be safely treated with antiviral medications.5
To enhance HCV care, NIDA is examining coordinated care models that utilize case managers to integrate HCV specialty care with primary care, substance use disorder treatment, and mental health services so that these patients get treatment regimens that address all of their health care needs. The Health Resources and Services Administrations Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program developed a free, online curriculum about HIV/hepatitis C for healthcare providers and healthcare staff to increase knowledge about co-infection among people of color in the United States.
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How Do Doctors Treat Hepatitis A
Treatment includes resting, drinking plenty of liquids, and eating healthy foods to help relieve symptoms. Your doctor may also suggest medicines to help relieve symptoms.
Talk with your doctor before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines, vitamins or other dietary supplements, or complementary or alternative medicinesany of these could damage your liver. You should avoid alcohol until your doctor tells you that you have completely recovered from hepatitis A.
See your doctor regularly to make sure your body has fully recovered. If you have symptoms for longer than 6 months, see your doctor again.
How To Treat Hepatitis A
This article was medically reviewed by Raj Vuppalanchi, MD. Dr. Raj Vuppalanchi is an Academic Hepatologist, a Professor of Medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine, and the Director of Clinical Hepatology at IU Health. With over ten years of experience, Dr. Vuppalanchi runs a clinical practice and provides care to patients with various liver disorders at the University Hospital in Indianapolis. He completed dual fellowships in Clinical Pharmacology and Gastroenterology-Hepatology at Indiana University School of Medicine. Dr. Raj Vuppalanchi is board certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology by the American Board of Internal Medicine and is a member of the American Association for Study of Liver Diseases and the American College of Gastroenterology. His patient-oriented research is dedicated to finding new treatments for various liver disorders as well as the use of diagnostic tests for non-invasive estimation of liver fibrosis and portal hypertension .There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 47,034 times.
What Treatments Are Available For Viral Hepatitis
Many medications are available for the treatment of chronic HBV and HCV infection. For chronic HBV infection, there are several antiviral drugs. People who are chronically infected with HBV require consistent medical monitoring to ensure that the medications are keeping the virus in check and that the disease is not progressing to liver damage or cancer.
There are also antiviral medications available for HCV treatment and new treatments have been approved in recent years. Many antiviral HCV treatments can cure more than 90 percent of people who take them within 8 to 12 weeks. HCV treatment dramatically reduces deaths, and people who are cured are much less likely to develop cirrhosis or liver cancer. However, not everyone infected with HCV needs or can benefit from treatment. NIDA researchers have identified genes that are associated with spontaneous clearance of HCV. These genes also enable people who are unable to clear HCV on their own to respond more favorably to treatment medications. This new information can be used to determine which patients can benefit most from HCV treatment. More studies must be done, but this is a first step to personalized medicine for the treatment of HCV.
Precautionary Treatment After Exposure
If a person has not been vaccinated, and they know they have been exposed to HAV, they can still receive either the vaccine or immune globulin within 2 weeks of the exposure.
This may include:
- colleagues of a food handler who has tested positive for HAV
- employees and children in a daycare center where someone has received a diagnosis of HAV
- anyone in close personal contact with a person who has HAV, including nurses or carers
Which treatment they should receive will depend on the age and health status of the person.
Prevention depends on immunization and good hygiene practices.
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Hepatitis A And E Symptoms
Hepatitis A and hepatitis E present with similar symptoms. The diseases may develop without any signs or symptoms, or symptoms may be nonspecific. If you experience any of the symptoms below for more than two weeks, make an appointment with a gastroenterologist.
There are three phases of hepatitis A and E, and symptoms may differ depending on the stage. Early in the disease, called the prodromal phase, symptoms may include:
What Is The Medical Treatment For Hepatitis A
- If a person becomes dehydrated, the doctor may prescribe IV fluids.
- If a patient is experiencing significant nausea and vomiting, he or she will receive medicines to control these symptoms.
- People whose symptoms are well controlled can be cared for at home.
- If dehydration or other symptoms are severe, or if the patient is extremely confused or difficult to arouse, he or she will most likely be hospitalized.
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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?
Postexposure Prophylaxis For Hepatitis A
What are the current CDC guidelines for postexposure protection against hepatitis A?
Hepatitis A vaccine should be administered as soon as possible, within 2 weeks of exposure, to all unvaccinated people aged 12 months who have recently been exposed to hepatitis A virus . In addition to hepatitis A vaccine, co-administration of GamaSTAN S/D immune globulin is recommended under certain circumstances according to age and health status of the exposed person.
Should patrons of an establishment implicated in an outbreak of hepatitis A receive postexposure prophylaxis ?
Because common-source transmission to patrons is unlikely, PEP administration to patrons is typically not indicated. However, PEP may be considered for those patrons potentially exposed to a symptomatic food handler if a) the food handler directly handled uncooked or cooked foods without gloves AND had diarrhea or poor hygienic practices and b) the patron can be identified and treated within 2 weeks of exposure, though the risk to these patrons still remains low .
In settings in which repeated exposures to hepatitis A virus might have occurred , consideration of PEP use is warranted. PEP in this scenario should generally consist of vaccination for all age groups, though immune globulin may be considered for exposed people who are immunocompromised or have chronic liver disease.
What should be done when a case of hepatitis A is found in a setting providing services to children or adults ?
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Viral Hepatitisa Very Real Consequence Of Substance Use
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. It can be caused by a variety of toxins , autoimmune conditions, or pathogens .1 Viral hepatitis is caused by a family of viruses labeled A, B, C, D, and E. To learn more about the route of transmission and prognosis for each virus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions Division of Viral Hepatitis. Hepatitis B and hepatitis C are the most common viral hepatitis infections transmitted through the sometimes risky behaviors of people who use drugsparticularly among people who inject drugs. An estimated 862,000 people are living with HBV chronic infections, with about 22,000 acute infections recorded in 2017. An estimated 2.4 million Americans are living with HCV based on 2013-2016 annual average, with an estimated 44,700 new cases of acute HCV in 2017. In fact, new cases of acute HCV have increased rapidly in the US since 2010, and have most often been associated with injection drug use.6 Three out of four people living with HCV are baby boomers born between 1945 and 1965.7
Concerns About Immunisation Side Effects
If a side effect following immunisation is unexpected, persistent or severe, or if you are worried about yourself or your childs condition after a vaccination, see your doctor or immunisation nurse as soon as possible or go directly to a hospital.
It is important to seek medical advice if you are unwell, as this may be due to other illness rather than because of the vaccination.
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Hepatitis A And International Travel
Who should receive protection against hepatitis A virus before travel?
All susceptible people traveling to or working in countries that have high or intermediate HAV endemicity are at increased risk for HAV infection. These travelers should be vaccinated or receive immune globulin before departure . For more information on international travel and hepatitis A, see CDCs travel page or ACIP updated recommendations on Prevention of Hepatitis A after Exposure to Hepatitis A Virus and in International Travelers.
How soon before international travel should the first dose of hepatitis A vaccine be given?
All unvaccinated people 12 months of age planning travel to an area with high or intermediate HAV endemicity should receive a single dose of vaccine as soon as travel is considered they should then complete the vaccine series with the appropriate dose and schedule. People traveling within 2 weeks should receive the initial dose of hepatitis A vaccine before departure and also simultaneously may be administered IG at a separate anatomic injection site for additional short-term protection . The hepatitis A vaccine series should be completed according to the routine schedule. Information on immune globulin dosing and additional information on hepatitis A vaccine and travel is available.
What should be done to protect international travelers < 6 months of age and other travelers unable to receive hepatitis A vaccine?
What Is Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A is a viral disease that affects the liver. The hepatitis A virus is highly infectious and is spread when traces of faeces containing the virus contaminate hands, objects, water or food.
Anyone can be infected with hepatitis A if they ingest food, drinks or traces of the virus on objects contaminated by the faeces of an infected person.
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What Do I Need To Know About Having Hepatitis B
If you have chronic hepatitis B, getting the right medical care can help you stay healthy. Taking good care of your liver is important. Talk with your doctor before you take any prescription medication, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, or nutritional supplements to make sure they wont hurt your liver. You should also stay away from alcohol, because drinking can damage your liver.
Is Hepatitis A Contagious
Hepatitis A Transmission
Hepatitis A is a type of liver infection caused by a virus termed hepatitis A . Symptoms, if they occur, start about 2 to 6 weeks after exposure to HAV. About 80% of adults have symptoms while children seldom show symptoms. Symptoms of hepatitis A may include the following:
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Joint pain
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A Revolution In Hep C Treatment
More than 3 million Americans have a long-lasting hepatitis C infection. Most donât know it, because there usually aren’t symptoms.
Sofosbuvir was one of the first direct-acting antivirals to target hep C,the viru a disease spread through direct blood-to-blood contact. DAAs work in different ways to stop hep C from making copies of itself.
These drugs are kinder and gentler than the old standard of care — interferon shots and ribavirin alone. That route could take as long as a year, it only cured about half of the people, and the side effects were brutal.
âImagine taking an injection and a pill that made you feel — every day — worse than you ever felt from the infection that was being treated,â says Alexea Gaffney-Adams, MD, an infectious disease specialist in Smithtown, NY.
Side effects included flu-like symptoms, joint pain, anemia, and depression.
Limes says the old treatment felt like pouring gasoline into his system. âIt was like killing me to keep me alive.â In fact, it made his hep C worse, so his doctors took him off it.
Todayâs therapies are pills only and donât need interferon. They have very few side effects and double the cure rate — to 90% to 100%. They work in as little as 8 or 12 weeks.
âMy who had been on the older regimens — and failed, and now have the luck of being able to experience these new medications — canât believe the difference,â says Gaffney-Adams.
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.
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Can Hepatitis A Be Treated
There is no drug treatment for hepatitis A. The disease will eventually run its course and an infected person will recover completely although recovery time varies for each person. Recovery from this virus infection means that you are protected for life from getting it again.
The following are some ways of dealing with the symptoms:
- You will feel tired and may have very little energy. You may need to take time off from daily activities, work or school to recover.
- Nausea and vomiting may cause you to lose your appetite. Try to eat small snacks and soft foods such as soup or toast.
- You may look yellow. Once you become yellow, you are no longer infectious. There is no need to isolate yourself. Let people around you know it is OK to be near you.
- Try not to drink alcohol. Your liver may not be able to process alcohol and alcohol may make your symptoms worse.
- Talk to your doctor before taking over-the-counter medications or complementary medicine. None of the alternative therapies have proved helpful in treating hepatitis A.
Treatment Options For Hepatitis B
People living with chronic hepatitis B infection should expect to live a long and healthy life. There are decisions people can make to protect their livers such as seeing a liver specialist or health care provider regularly, avoiding alcohol and tobacco, and eating healthy foods. There are also approved drugs for both adults and children that control the hepatitis B virus, which helps reduce the risk of developing more serious liver disease, but there is still no complete cure.
Current treatments for hepatitis B fall into two general categories:
- Immune modulator Drugs These are interferon-type drugs that boost the immune system to help get rid of the hepatitis B virus. They are given as a shot over 6 months to 1 year.
- Antiviral Drugs These are drugs that stop or slow down the hepatitis B virus from reproducing, which reduces the inflammation and damage of your liver. These are taken as a pill once a day for at least 1 year and usually longer.
It is important to know that not everyone with chronic hepatitis B infection needs to be treated. This can be difficult to accept when first diagnosed because taking a drug to get rid of the virus seems like the first step to getting better. Current treatments, however, are generally found to be most effective in those who show signs of active liver disease .
Hepatitis B Drug Watch
Visit the HBF Drug Watch for a complete list of the approved treatments for hepatitis B and promising new drugs in development.
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