How Do You Prevent Hepatitis
Both hepatitis A and hepatitis B can be prevented with a vaccine. There is currently no vaccine available to prevent hepatitis C.
To prevent spreading or getting hepatitis A:
- Wash hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds after using the bathroom, changing diapers, touching garbage or dirty clothes, and before preparing food and eating
- Follow guidelines for food safety
- Avoid unpasteurized milk or foods made with it
- Thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables before eating
- Keep the refrigerator colder than 40°F and the freezer below 0°F
- Cook meat and seafood until well done
- Cook egg yolks until firm
- Wash hands, knives, and cutting boards after contact with raw food
To prevent spreading or getting hepatitis B or hepatitis C:
- Practice safe sex and use a latex condom each time you have sex
- Dont share razors, toothbrushes, or any personal objects that might have blood on them
- Dont share needles or syringes
- Cover cuts and open sores with bandages
- Clean blood off of things with a mixture of bleach and water: use 9 parts bleach to one-part water
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.
What Causes Hepatitis In A Child
Hepatitis in children can be caused by many things. Your child can get hepatitis by being exposed to a virus that causes it. These viruses can include:
Hepatitis viruses. There are 5 main types of the hepatitis virus: A, B, C, D, and E.
Cytomegalovirus. This virus is a part of the herpes virus family.
Epstein-Barr virus. The virus causes mononucleosis.
Herpes simplex virus. Herpes can affect the face, the skin above the waist, or the genitals.
Varicella zoster virus . A complication of this virus is hepatitis. But this happens very rarely in children.
Enteroviruses. This is a group of viruses often seen in children. They include coxsackie viruses and echoviruses.
Rubella. This is a mild disease that causes a rash.
Adenovirus. This is a group of viruses that causes colds, tonsillitis, and ear infections in children. They can also cause diarrhea.
Parvovirus. This virus causes fifth disease. Symptoms include a slapped-cheek rash on the face.
Conditions can also cause hepatitis in children. These can include autoimmune liver disease. For this disease, your childs immune system makes antibodies that attack the liver. This causes inflammation that leads to hepatitis.
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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.
What Is The Treatment For Hepatitis
Each type of hepatitis is treated differently.
Hepatitis A often goes away on its own and home treatment is all that is needed to help the liver recover, such as:
- Avoiding alcohol
- Avoiding certain medicines that can be harmful to the liver
Hepatitis B often goes away on its own in about 6 months, and can also be treated at home with the above remedies. Other treatments for hepatitis B include:
- Antiviral medications
- Liver transplant in severe cases
Treatment for hepatitis C is effective on certain forms of the hepatitis C virus. The choice of medications depends on the type of hepatitis C you have, whether you have been treated for the illness before, how much liver damage has occurred, any other underlying medical issues, and other medicines you take. Treatment for hepatitis C usually involves 8 to 12 weeks of oral antiviral medications, such as:
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When Should I Contact A Doctor About Hepatitis A
If you have recently been exposed to a source of HAV and are unsure if you are vaccinated, contact your health-care professional, as it is possible to get vaccine or even immunoglobulin treatment to prevent the disease and/or its symptoms.
If you have the disease, contact your health-care professional for symptomatic treatment methods to help prevent HAV spread to family and friends. Some individuals have more severe symptoms and may need to be hospitalized.
Can Hepatitis Be Treated
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Each form of hepatitis has its method of treatment. Once you know what type of hepatitis you have, you can expect the following treatment process:
- Hepatitis A is a short-term illness that responds well to bed rest, hydration, and nutrition.
- Hepatitis B in its acute form doesnt require treatment but the chronic form of the disease is treated with antiviral medications.
- Hepatitis C is also treated with antiviral medication for both the acute and chronic forms of the disease.
- Hepatitis D doesnt have a very effective treatment regimen at this time there is a medication available but it has low efficacy.
- Hepatitis E usually resolves on its own as a short-term illness.
For prevention, there is a vaccine available to target hepatitis A and hepatitis B. You can also prevent hepatitis D by getting the hepatitis B vaccine. If you believe you have symptoms of hepatitis please call Gastroenterology Associates of Southwest Florida, PA for an appointment at 239-275-8882.
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How Hepatitis C Can Spread
Hepatitis C spreads through contact with blood from a person with an HCV infection. The most common cause of hepatitis C is from sharing needles with an infected person. The infection also can be passed through unsterilized tattoo needles. Mothers can transmit the virus to their babies at birth, but not through breastfeeding.
Although chances are low, the infection can be spread through contact with fresh or dried blood. When cleaning stray blood, wear rubber gloves and use a of 1 part household bleach to 10 parts water.
Getting Tested Is The Only Way To Know If You Have Hepatitis C
A blood test called a hepatitis C antibody test can tell if you have been infected with the hepatitis C viruseither recently or in the past. If you have a positive antibody test, another blood test is needed to tell if you are still infected or if you were infected in the past and cleared the virus on your own.
- Are 18 years of age and older
- Currently inject drugs
- Have ever injected drugs, even if it was just once or many years ago
- Have abnormal liver tests or liver disease
- Are on hemodialysis
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What Is Viral Hepatitis
Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. The liver is a vital organ that processes nutrients, filters the blood, and fights infections. When the liver is inflamed or damaged, its function can be affected. Heavy alcohol use, toxins, some medications, and certain medical conditions can cause hepatitis. However, hepatitis is often caused by a virus. In the United States, the most common types of viral hepatitis are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.
How Common Is Hepatitis A
Since the hepatitis A vaccine was first recommended in 1996, cases of hepatitis A in the United States have declined dramatically. Unfortunately, in recent years the number of people infected has been increasing because there have been multiple outbreaks of hepatitis A in the United States. These outbreaks have primarily been from person-to-person contact, especially among people who use drugs, people experiencing homelessness, and men who have sex with men.
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Who Should Be Vaccinated
- All children aged 1223 months
- All children and adolescents 218 years of age who have not previously received hepatitis A vaccine
People at increased risk for hepatitis A
- International travelers
- Men who have sex with men
- People who use or inject drugs
- People with occupational risk for exposure
- People who anticipate close personal contact with an international adoptee
- People experiencing homelessness
People at increased risk for severe disease from hepatitis A infection
- People with chronic liver disease, including hepatitis B and hepatitis C
- People with HIV
Other people recommended for vaccination
- Pregnant women at risk for hepatitis A or risk for severe outcome from hepatitis A infection
Any person who requests vaccination
There is no vaccine available for hepatitis C.
What Is The Diagnosis And Treatment For Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A is diagnosed based on the symptoms and blood test. A blood test usually confirms hepatitis A with the detection of hepatitis A antibodies against the virus.Generally, hepatitis A gets better in a few weeks without any treatment. However, in some the symptoms can last as long as 6 months. The doctor may give supportive treatment to the patient in the form of rest, hydration, healthy diet and abstinence from alcohol until and unless one has recovered completely. Doctor may also give medications to relieve symptoms of hepatitis A. There are no long-term effects of hepatitis A, but there are chances of recurrence of the infection within 6 to 9 months in 10 to 15% of cases, according to CDC. Liver failure is considered a very rare complication of the disease.
If the symptoms persist for long, greater than 6 months then one should visit a doctor. The doctor will usually get liver function test done to see optimal functioning of liver and to see whether it is healing or not.
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How Is Hepatitis A Diagnosed And Treated
A doctor can determine if a person has hepatitis A by discussing his or her symptoms and taking a blood sample. To treat hepatitis A, doctors usually recommend rest, adequate nutrition, fluids, and medical monitoring. Some people will need to be hospitalized. It can take a few months before people begin to feel better. Hepatitis A is caused by a virus. Antibiotics are not prescribed to treat viral infections.
Treatment: Chronic Hepatitis C
The latest drug to be approved by the FDA is glecaprevir and pibrentasvir . This medication offers a shorter treatment cycle of 8 weeks for adult patients with all types of HCV who donât have cirrhosis and who have not been previously treated. The length of treatment is longer for those who are in a different disease stage. The prescribed dosage for this medicine is 3 tablets daily.
There are several other combination drugs available, as well as some single drugs that may be used in combination. Your doctor will choose the right one for you depending on the type of hepatitis C you have, how well your liver is functioning and any other medical problems you may have. Also be sure to discuss your insurance coverage since these medications are expensive.
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How Do You Get Hepatitis B
sharing toothbrushes and razors
sharing needles for shooting drugs, piercings, tattoos, etc.
getting stuck with a needle that has the Hep B virus on it.
Hepatitis B can also be passed to babies during birth if their mother has it.
Hepatitis B isnt spread through saliva , so you CANT get hepatitis B from sharing food or drinks or using the same fork or spoon. Hepatitis B is also not spread through kissing, hugging, holding hands, coughing, sneezing, or breastfeeding.
How Contagious Is Hepatitis A
Casual contacts fellow classmates or work associates, for example are generally not at risk. Because close personal contact in classroomsor offices is unlikely and because older children and adults typically practicegood hygiene, the likelihood that hepatitis A will be transmitted in thesesettings is reduced. However, hepatitis A can be transmitted in child day-caresettings, especially if good hygiene is not practiced after changing diapers.It also is due to the close personal contact among children, who are stilllearning to practice proper hygiene.
The contagious period begins about two weeks before symptoms appear andcontinues up to one week after the onset of jaundice . Because of the delay in symptoms, a person cantransmit the virus without realizing it.
In Illinois, the incidence of hepatitis A has declined since 1990, when1,726 cases were recorded, to 112 cases in 2008.
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What Is Hepatitis E
Hepatitis E, also called enteric hepatitis , is similar to hepatitis A, and more prevalent in Asia and Africa. It is also transmitted through the fecal-oral route. It is generally not fatal, though it is more serious in women during pregnancy and can cause fetal complications. Most patients with hepatitis E recover completely.
There Is A Test For Hepatitis C
The hepatitis C antibody test determines if a person has been infected with the virus. A positive, or reactive result, means antibodies were found and you were infected with the hepatitis C virus at some point in time. Additional tests are required to confirm if you have active infection at present.
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Baby Boomers Are At Higher Risk
If you were born between 1945 and 1965, you might not realize that you are more likely to have hepatitis C. The reason is that intravenous drug use was popular in the 1960s and 1970s, and this practice occurred more commonly in young adults that were born between 1945-1965. Also, blood transfusions in the 1960s and 1970s not infrequently spread hepatitis C since the diagnostic test for hepatitis C was not yet discovered and blood could not be screened. All baby boomers should have a one-time test for hepatitis C to rule out infection.
Hepatitis C is a tricky disease. Its highly contagious, very dangerous and usually exists without presenting any symptoms at all. While hepatitis C can be transmitted in many different ways, its important to do what you can to help prevent contracting or spreading the disease, whenever possible, such as avoiding sharing needles at any time. Be sure to talk with your doctor if you have questions, fears or would like to be tested.
How Long Can You Live With Hepatitis B
Most people who contract hepatitis B during adulthood fully recover within 1 to 3 months.
People with chronic hepatitis B may have a higher risk of developing long-term liver problems, like cirrhosis or liver cancer, which require treatment and may be life threatening.
Keep in mind that the risk of developing chronic hepatitis B is higher for babies and children, especially if they have not been vaccinated against the virus.
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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.
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What Do Doctors Do
A doctor who thinks someone may have hepatitis may ask questions like these:
- Has the person been around anyone who works in health care or childcare?
- Did the person stick himself or herself with a dirty needle or get a tattoo with a dirty needle?
- Did the person have contact with the bodily fluids of someone who has hepatitis?
- Did the person have a blood transfusion as a baby?
- Have any of the person’s family members had hepatitis?
- Could the person have eaten food that was contaminated with hepatitis A?
The doctor can order a blood test to see if someone has hepatitis and which type, then help the person get the right care.
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How To Prevent Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A can be prevented by staying away from contaminated food and water, maintaining good hygiene by washing hands after using toilet and before eating, using bottled water and washing fruits and vegetables when in a developing country. A person can also avoid getting hepatitis A by receiving hepatitis A vaccine.
Causes Of Noninfectious Hepatitis
Although hepatitis is most commonly the result of an infection, other factors can cause the condition.
Alcohol and other toxins
The alcohol directly injures the cells of your liver. Over time, it can cause permanent damage and lead to thickening or scarring of liver tissue and liver failure.
Other toxic causes of hepatitis include misuse of medications and exposure to toxins.
Autoimmune system response
In some cases, the immune system mistakes the liver as harmful and attacks it. This causes ongoing inflammation that can range from mild to severe, often hindering liver function. Itâs three times more common in women than in men.
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How Will I Know If An Individual Is Cured Of Hepatitis B
Not all patients with hepatitis B require treatment, which is generally used in more advanced disease. There are multiple anti-viral agents currently available that are effective in controlling the infection. Your physician will determine if you are a candidate for treatment, and if so, with which agent. Although a commercially available drug is not yet available to cure hepatitis B, researchers in Australia are currently studying an anticancer drug, birinapant. The drug is in clinical trials to determine its potential ability to cure hepatitis B.
Individuals that get infected with HBV and do not remain chronically infected can become HBsAg-negative about 15 weeks after onset of symptoms. However, patients are advised to consult their physician to interpret the results of HBV blood tests. The majority of adults recover from hepatitis B after several months they become non-contagious and are considered to be cured. Unfortunately, about 2% of adults and more than 90% of children under age 1 do not clear the infection and develop chronic hepatitis B infection. For this reason, HBV vaccine is urged for all infants and for individuals that are exposed to hepatitis B and have not been vaccinated.