Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by a virus of the same name. Hepatitis A is one of the different types of virus that affects the liver and results in inflammation. The disease may be mild to severe, affecting the functioning of the liver. In mild cases, no special treatment is required and the person may recover from the condition without any problems.
Viruses that cause this condition are often seen in the stools of an infected person. Hepatitis A spreads when a person eats or drinks food contaminated with the stool of an infected person. Thus, it is common for many people to have this disease after having food at the same restaurant where the food is contaminated. It also spreads very fast in day care centers if there are any kids with the viral infection. Eating undercooked or uncooked food, like oysters and clams, also increases the chance of getting this infection. While traveling to a country where this disease is very common, one should be careful to avoid uncooked food. Avoid being in close contact with an infected person as much as possible.
The risk of getting infection increases by:
- Sharing infected needles
- Receiving clotting factor concentrates from an infected person
- Having HIV infection
- Living with an infected person
The symptoms of the disease appear after two to seven weeks of infection by the virus. The symptoms may last for months and may range from mild to severe.
Some of the most common symptoms are:
- Lack of appetite
- Feeling stomach sick
- Loss of weight
- Pain on the right side of abdomen
- Dark colored urine
- Muscle pain
The symptoms of different types of hepatitis are similar, and a blood test is required to confirm the type of hepatitis the individual has. Many people may remain asymptomatic. Do not hesitate to meet with your doctor if you have any of the symptoms, especially if you have been exposed to infection at any time.
Hepatitis A may not require a specific treatment and it may resolve on its own. If you get hepatitis A, find time for adequate relaxation. Avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of water and other fluids.