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
Who Should Get Tested For Hepatitis C
Talk to your doctor about getting tested for Hepatitis C if you:
- Are a current or former drug user who used needles to inject, even if you only did this one time or did it many years ago
- Have a sex partner who has chronic Hepatitis C or have had many sex partners
- Had your blood filtered by a machine for a long period of time because your kidneys werent working
- Received a blood transfusion or organ transplant from a donor before July 1992
- Received a blood clotting factor to treat a bleeding disorder before 1987
- Are a healthcare worker and were exposed to blood through a needle stick or had other contact with blood or bodily fluids
- Have evidence of liver disease, such as abnormal liver tests
- Were born between 1945 and 1965. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a one-time screening for all baby boomers.
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Lifestyle And Home Remedies
If youâve been infected with hepatitis B, take steps to protect others from the virus.
- Make sex safer. If youâre sexually active, tell your partner you have HBV and talk about the risk of transmitting it to him or her. Use a new latex condom every time you have sex, but remember that condoms reduce but donât eliminate the risk.
- Tell your sexual partner to get tested. Anyone with whom youâve had sex needs to be tested for the virus. Your partners also need to know their HBV status so that they donât infect others.
- Donât share personal care items. If you use IV drugs, never share needles and syringes. And donât share razor blades or toothbrushes, which may carry traces of infected blood.
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Recent Increases In Hepatitis C Infections
Between 2013 and 2020, the reported number of acute HCV infections more than doubled. High rates of new infections were predominantly among young adults aged 20-29 years and aged 30-39 years. The number of cases continues to increase, in 2020 an estimated 66,700 new HCV infections occurred in the United States. For the most recent surveillance data visit CDC Viral Hepatitis Surveillance.
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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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Treatment Of Acute Viral Hepatitis
Antiviral drugs for acute hepatitis C
For most people with acute viral hepatitis, special treatment is not necessary. However, people with severe acute hepatitis may require hospitalization so that symptoms can be treated. If doctors suspect that fulminant hepatitis is developing, the person is hospitalized so that mental status can be monitored, liver tests can be done, and doctors can determine whether liver transplantation is needed.
After the first several days, appetite usually returns and people do not need to stay in bed. Severe restrictions of diet or activity are unnecessary, and vitamin supplements are not required. Most people can safely return to work after the jaundice clears, even if their liver test results are not quite normal.
People with hepatitis should not drink alcohol until they have fully recovered.
The infected liver may not process drugs normally. So a doctor may need to stop a drug or reduce the dosage of a drug that could accumulate to harmful levels in the body . Thus, people with hepatitis should tell their doctor all the drugs they are taking , so that the dosage of the drug can be adjusted if necessary.
If itching occurs, cholestyramine, taken by mouth, is often effective.
Hepatitis Cases In Children
The number of cases of hepatitis in children has increased recently. Public health doctors and scientists are looking into what could be causing this.
See a GP if your child has symptoms of hepatitis, including yellowing of the eyes and skin .
Good hygiene, including supervising hand washing in young children, can help to prevent infections that can cause hepatitis.
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Who Should Have The Hepatitis A Vaccine
People usually advised to have the hepatitis A vaccine include:
- close contacts of someone with hepatitis A
- people planning to travel to or live in parts of the world where hepatitis A is widespread, particularly if levels of sanitation and food hygiene are expected to be poor
- people with any type of long-term liver disease
- men who have sex with other men
- people who inject illegal drugs
- people who may be exposed to hepatitis A through their job this includes sewage workers, staff of institutions where levels of personal hygiene may be poor and people working with monkeys, apes and gorillas
Contact your GP surgery if you think you should have the hepatitis A vaccine or you’re not sure whether you need it.
Medications For Hepatitis C
Many different medications can treat hepatitis C. Treatments most often include antivirals, with Riboviria sometimes prescribed if previous treatments were ineffective.
Medications called direct-acting antivirals work to fully remove the hepatitis C virus from your body while helping prevent liver damage at the same time.
A few brand names of these medications include:
6 different genotypes , or strains, of hepatitis C.
Once your doctor or other healthcare professional knows your genotype, theyll have a better idea of which medication will work best for you. Some strains have developed a resistance to some medications, so your genotype can affect your treatment options.
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Origin Of Antiviral Resistance
The genetic makeup of viruses is constantly changing, which can cause a virus to become resistant to currently available treatments. Viruses can become resistant through spontaneous or intermittent mechanisms throughout the course of an antiviral treatment. Immunocompromised patients, more often than immunocompetent patients, hospitalized with are at the highest risk of developing oseltamivir resistance during treatment. Subsequent to exposure to someone else with the flu, those who received oseltamivir for post-exposure prophylaxis are also at higher risk of resistance.
Multiple strains of one virus can be present in the body at one time, and some of these strains may contain mutations that cause antiviral resistance. This effect, called the , results in immense variation in any given sample of virus, and gives the opportunity for natural selection to favor viral strains with the highest fitness every time the virus is spread to a new host. Also, recombination, the joining of two different viral variants, and , the swapping of viral gene segments among viruses in the same cell, play a role in resistance, especially in influenza.
Antiviral resistance has been reported in antivirals for herpes, HIV, hepatitis B and C, and influenza, but antiviral resistance is a possibility for all viruses. Mechanisms of antiviral resistance vary between virus types.
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Side Effects Of The Hepatitis A Vaccine
Some people develop temporary soreness, redness and hardening of the skin at the injection site after having the hepatitis A vaccine.
A small, painless lump may also form, but this usually disappears quickly and isn’t a cause for concern.
Less common side effects include:
- a slightly raised temperature
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Hepatitis A And B Vaccines
There are vaccines to protect against hepatitis A and B. The CDC recommends hepatitis A vaccination for all children ages 12 to 23 months and for adults who plan to travel or work in areas with hepatitis A outbreaks or who have other risk factors. People with chronic hepatitis B or C should also get the hepatitis A vaccine if they don’t already have immunity to the disease. The hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for all infants at birth and for adults who have any of the risk factors we discussed earlier. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C.
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.
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What Are The Seven Signs Of Hepatitis
The different forms of hepatitis have different signs and symptoms, making regular screenings important for health. While hepatitis B and C dont always cause symptoms, hepatitis A can trigger symptoms similar to the flu as well as these seven common signs:
While these symptoms can resolve in a few weeks, hepatitis A can lead to serious illness that lasts for months. If you suspect you may have hepatitis, schedule an appointment with Dr. Rivas right away to get a diagnosis and start treatment if applicable.
How Is The Diagnosis Of Viral Hepatitis Made
In acute hepatitis patients, diagnosis is promptly made based on their presenting symptoms, as mentioned earlier. In the case of chronic hepatitis patients, diagnosis becomes tricky due to the absence of symptoms or the presence of mild non-specific symptoms. The following investigations are suggested for establishing a diagnosis.
Liver Enzymes: Increased levels of aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase can be found in the blood sample in patients with viral hepatitis. Apart from hepatic virus-induced liver disease, there are other causes like alcohol, medications, bacterial infection, etc., which can also cause a spike.
Viral Antibodies: To confirm that hepatitis is caused due to a virus, viral antibodies test is beneficial. Antibodies to hepatic viruses are identified in the blood of the infected individual.
Viral Proteins Test: This test is beneficial to identify the presence of the virus in chronic viral hepatitis patients wherein the virus genetic material and protein are detected in the blood.
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What Are The Types Of Hepatitis
There are many types of hepatitis which cause symptoms that range from mild to very serious.
Five types of viral hepatitis are:
- hepatitis A an illness that can last from a few weeks to 6 months
- hepatitis B a serious infection that can lead to liver damage
- hepatitis C a disease that is now easily treatable
- hepatitis D a disease that only affects people infected with hepatitis B, and is a rarer type of hepatitis in Australia
- hepatitis E a short-term illness that can be severe in pregnant women, but is rare in Australia
There are other types of hepatitis that are not infectious, including:
- autoimmune hepatitis
Having one type of hepatitis doesnt stop you from getting other types.
What Are Elevated Liver Enzymes
When the liver is injured or inflamed, it may release certain substances into the bloodstream. Elevated levels of these substances, including liver enzymes, might indicate a problem.
A simple blood test can detect liver enzyme levels. Your healthcare provider may discover elevated liver enzymes after a routine blood test during an annual physical, or they may test liver function if you have certain symptoms.
There are several different liver enzymes. A typical liver function test might assess the following liver enzymes:
Individuals with particular medical conditions may also undergo routine liver tests. People with severe hypertension, lupus, diabetes, and colon cancer are at an increased risk for developing liver disease and may require more routine screening.
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What Causes Hepatitis A And How Is It Contracted
People develop a hepatitis A infection after contracting HAV. This virus is typically transmitted by ingesting food or liquid contaminated with fecal matter that contains the virus. Once transmitted, the virus spreads through the bloodstream to the liver, where it causes inflammation and swelling.
In addition to transmission from eating food or drinking water containing HAV, the virus can also be spread by close personal contact with someone who already has it. HAV is contagious, and a person who has hepatitis A can easily pass the disease to others living in the same household.
You can contract hepatitis A by:
- eating food prepared by someone with the hepatitis A virus
- eating food handled by preparers who dont follow strict hand-washing routines before touching food that you eat
- eating sewage-contaminated raw shellfish
- having sex with someone who has the hepatitis A virus
- drinking polluted water
- coming in contact with hepatitis A-infected fecal matter
If you contract the virus, youll be contagious 2 weeks before symptoms even appear. The contagious period ends about 1 week after symptoms appear.
Outlook For Hepatitis A
For most people, hepatitis A will pass within 2 months and there will be no long-term effects. Once it passes, you normally develop life-long immunity against the virus.
For around 1 in every 7 people with the infection, the symptoms may come and go for up to 6 months before eventually passing.
Life-threatening complications such as liver failure are rare, affecting less than 1 in every 250 people with hepatitis A. People most at risk include those with pre-existing liver problems and elderly people.
If liver failure does occur, a liver transplant is usually needed to treat it.
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Hepatitis A: What Happens
Hepatitis A is highly contagious and can spread from person to person in many different settings. It typically causes only a mild illness, and many people who are infected may never realize they’re sick at all. The virus almost always goes away on its own and does not cause long-term liver damage.
How Long Do The Hepatitis A And B Vaccines Protect You
During your lifetime, you need:
- One series of the hepatitis A vaccine
- One series of the hepatitis B vaccine
Most people dont need a booster dose of either vaccine. But if you have had dialysis, a medical procedure to clean your blood, or have a weakened immune system, your doctor might recommend additional doses of the hepatitis B vaccine.
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Hepatitis B And Your Liver
The liver is such an important organ that we can survive only one or two days if it completely shuts down if the liver fails, your body will fail, too. Fortunately, the liver can function even when up to 80% of it is diseased or removed. This is because it has the amazing ability to regenerate or create itself from healthy liver cells that still exist.
If your body were an automobile, your liver would be considered the engine. It does hundreds of vital things to make sure everything runs smoothly:
- Stores vitamins, sugar and iron to help give your body energy
- Controls the production and removal of cholesterol
- Clears your blood of waste products, drugs and other poisonous substances
- Makes clotting factors to stop excessive bleeding after cuts or injuries
- Produces immune factors and removes bacteria from the bloodstream to combat infection
- Releases a substance called bile to help digest food and absorb important nutrients
The word hepatitis actually means inflammation of the liver. Thus, hepatitis B refers to inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis B virus. With early detection and appropriate follow-up medical care, people living with a chronic hepatitis B infection can expect to enjoy a long and healthy life.
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Treatments For Hepatitis A
There’s currently no cure for hepatitis A, but it will normally pass on its own within a couple of months. You can usually look after yourself at home.
While you’re ill, it’s a good idea to:
- get plenty of rest
- take painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen for any aches and pains ask your GP for advice about this, as you may need to take lower doses than normal or avoid certain medications until you’ve recovered
- maintain a cool, well-ventilated environment, wear loose clothing, and avoid hot baths or showers to reduce any itching
- eat smaller, lighter meals to help reduce nausea and vomiting
- avoid alcohol to reduce the strain on your liver
- stay off work or school and avoid having sex until at least a week after your jaundice or other symptoms started
- practise good hygiene measures, such as washing your hands with soap and water regularly
Speak to your GP if your symptoms are particularly troublesome or haven’t started to improve within a couple of months. They can prescribe medications to help with itchiness, nausea or vomiting, if necessary.
Read more about treating hepatitis A.
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