Hepatitis A – Symptoms, causes and treatment

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Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. The virus causes inflammation that affects your liver’s ability to function. You’re most likely to contract it from contaminated food or water or from close contact with someone who’s already infected. Most people who are infected mildly do not require treatment and recover completely with no permanent liver damage.There are five hepatitis viruses: A, B, C, D, and E. There are also other viruses that can cause liver inflammation, like Epstein-Barr virus and cytomegalovirus, but these viruses are not called hepatitis viruses.

Symptoms:

The symptoms typically don’t appear until you’ve had the virus for a few weeks.

• Fatigue

• Nausea and vomiting

• Abdominal pain or discomfort, especially in the area of your liver on your right side beneath your lower ribs

• Loss of appetite

• Low-grade fever

• Dark urine

• Muscle pain

• Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)

Causes:

It is caused by infection with the virus. The virus is usually spread when a person ingests tiny amounts of contaminated fecal matter. It infects the liver cells and causes inflammation. The inflammation can damage liver function and cause other signs and symptoms of hepatitis A.

It can be transmitted in number of ways such as:

• When someone with the virus manipulates the food you eat without first carefully washing his or her hands after using the toilet.

• Drinking contaminated water

• If you eat raw shellfish from polluted water

• If a person is in close contact with a person who is infected — even if that person has no signs or symptoms

• If person has sex with someone who has the virus

Risk factor:

• Work or travel in regions with high rates of hepatitis A

• A person who has sexual contact with other men

• Are HIV positive

• Use noninjected or injected illicit drugs

• Live with another person who has it

• Receive clotting-factor concentrates for medical condition or hemophilia

Treatment:

No specific treatment exists for it. Your body will clear the virus on its own. In most cases of it, the liver heals completely in a month or two with no lasting damage.

• Expect to have less energy. Many people with this infection feel tired and have less energy to carry out their daily tasks. Rest when you feel tired or when you need to. You may feel sick and tired for a few months.

• Ways to cope with nausea. Nausea can make it hard to eat. Find ways to make food more attractive. Rather than three large meals eat small snacks throughout the day.