Hepatitis A virus infects the liver, as a result you may get mild to severe illness. This virus spreads through ingestion of contaminated water and food. It can also spread through direct contact with a person with hepatitis A. In most cases the person recovers fully from this infection with a lifelong immunity as well. But in rare cases, people with hepatitis A may die due to it. Hence timely hepatitis A diagnosis and treatment is required to prevent any casualties and progression of the infection into terminal liver problems.
Hepatitis A diagnosis
As part of hepatitis A diagnosis, your doc will have queries about your symptoms and where you ate or traveled. If the doctor feels you have the hepatitis A virus, then you need to have blood tests to confirm it. These tests help to confirm any inflammation of the liver. Also it shows the presence of any antibodies to the hepatitis A virus. The presence of these antibodies confirm your exposure to the hepatitis A virus.
Hepatitis A treatment
In most cases, people with this infection get well within few months as the infection goes away on its own. You need to maintain the following while you have the disease:
- Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.
- It is important to have a healthy mix of foods. You may not feel like having food, still you need to have good nutrition.
- Slow down and cut back on the regular activities till you regain all your energy. Take time to get back to your daily routine as you start feeling better. Do not rush into things as you may fall sick again.
- Don’t make liver problems worse by drinking alcohol or using any illegal drugs.
- Your doctor should know what all medicines you are taking including any alternative medications like any herbal products. Without consulting your doctor first, do not start or change any medicines.
This infection may sometimes lead to serious illness without proper or timely hepatitis A diagnosis. Then you may have to stay in the hospital till your liver heals in order to prevent further problems. Also take the following steps to avoid the spread of the virus:
- After using the bathroom or changing a diaper, wash your hands with soap and water and then prepare food.
- Avoid sexual contact when having the infection.
- Tell the people you live with about your infection. They should consult their doctor whether to have a dose of vaccine or a shot of immunoglobulin.
The good news is you can have hepatitis A only once. Your body will build up defense against it after your first exposure.
Hepatitis A Prevention
- If you have any travel plans, health, job or lifestyle that may increase your risk, it is best to have a vaccine against hepatitis A.
- Get your children also vaccinated.
- If you were around someone with hepatitis A, then consult your doctor. Have hepatitis A vaccine or a shot of immunoglobulin within two weeks of exposure to prevent you from getting sick.
- Maintain good hygiene habits
- Avoid eating raw or under cooked shellfish.
- If you have to travel to a place with poor sanitation or where there is prevalence of this infection, have hepatitis A vaccine or injection of immunoglobulin or a combo of hepatitis A and B vaccine. Drink only boiled or bottled water. Do not drink water with ice cubes. Also avoid eating raw foods especially unpeeled veggies or fruits.