Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. The three most common types of Hepatitis are Hepatitis A, B, and C and are caused by viruses that infect the liver and cause it to enlarge and not work as effectively.

Hepatitis A is found in the blood and stools in a person infected with the virus. The illness may last for less than 2 months, or may be as long as 6 months.

FAQ: About Hepatitis A

Q:How do you get Hepatitis A?
Hepatitis A may be contracted if you eat food or drink water that is contaminated with the virus. Objects, food or drinks contaminated with fecal matter from an infected person may also spread the disease. Shellfish that has not been properly cooked and obtained from contaminated waters may also be a source of Hepatitis A.

Q: What are the symptoms of Hepatitis A?
Fever, Fatigue, Nausea, Vomiting, Diarrhea, Abdominal Pain, Clay-colored bowel movements, Dark urine, Jaundice (yellow color to the eyes or skin), Loss of appetite, Joint Pain
Note: some people, especially children, have no symptoms

Q: How Soon would symptoms appear if a person was infected with Hepatitis A?
Normally, a person would begin having symptoms from 2-6 weeks after being exposed to the virus.

Q: If someone has no symptoms of Hepatitis A, can they still spread the illness?
A: Yes, the virus may be transmitted for up to 2 weeks before symptoms appear, and many people may have no symptoms at all but could still be transmitting the disease to others.

Q: How is Hepatitis A diagnosed?
A: A physican or health care provider will examine you, and take a blood sample and discuss your symptoms in order to diagnose Hepatitis A.

Q: What is the treatment for Hepatitis A?
No specific treatment exists although your doctor will want you to make sure that you stay well hydrated, obtain enough rest, and maintain a healthy diet nutritionally during the recovery period. Alcohol should be avoided and you should also discuss with your doctor about any over the counter medications or prescriptions you are taking as any medications can also affect the liver.

Q: How can Hepatitis A be prevented?
A vaccine is available and is recommended for travelers going to certain countries or those at high risk of infection.

In the next article, we’ll discuss Hepatitis B .