Hepatitis A is an infection that affects the liver and caused by a virus. Usually in most cases, this infection goes away on its own and doesn’t give rise to long term liver problems. But it can become serious in rare cases.
How does hepatitis A spread?
Normally hepatitis A virus is present in the stool of the affected person. It can spread when a person drinks water or eats food that come in contact with the stool infected by hepatitis A virus. A group of people eating at the same restaurant can also get this infection sometimes. The reason may be the chef with hepatitis may not have washed their hands well after going to the bathroom and prepares food. Another reason is when the food item gets contaminated by raw sewage or by a garden worker with this infection.
This infection may also spread in child day care centers. Children especially those wearing diapers can get stool on their hands. They may then touch objects which the other children may put in their mouths. Also the people working in day care may spread the virus if after changing a diaper don’t wash their hands properly. In such cases, it is possible to prevent the spread of hepatitis A by washing hands properly and throwing the diapers in a covered trash can or a diaper pail.
Your chances of getting this disease may increase if you eat raw oysters or any under cooked clams. When traveling to a country where there is spread of hepatitis A, lower your risk of getting this infection by completely avoiding unhygienic tap water and uncooked foods.
Hepatitis A symptoms
After coming in contact with the virus, you can start seeing the signs of the infection only after 2 to 7 weeks. Normally the symptoms may be present for about 2 months but can last longer in some cases. Below are some of the common hepatitis A symptoms:
- Less hunger and sick feeling in your stomach
- Weight loss
- Pain under the rib cage on the right side of the belly
- Sore muscles
- Yellow skin in case of jaundice, clay colored stools and dark urine.
The symptoms are similar for all forms of hepatitis. Blood test can only help to differentiate hepatitis A from other forms of hepatitis. If you feel you have hepatitis A or have come in contact with the virus, then immediately consult a doctor.