What is hepatitis a?


Know the basics

What is hepatitis a?

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. The virus is one of several types of hepatitis viruses that cause inflammation and affect your liver’s ability to function. Most people recover in 2 to 6 months without serious health problems. But in some rare case, hepatitis A can lead to heart failure complication.

How common is hepatitis a?

Hepatitis A patient usually is those who live with or have sex with someone who’s infected travel to countries where hepatitis A is common… You can minimize the chance of having hernias by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Know the symptoms

What are the symptoms of hepatitis a?

First, you must notice that not all people have symptoms. Symptoms may occur, usually during the first month following infection and include:

  • Jaundice;
  • Plus pale or clay-colored stools;
  • Dark urine;
  • Itching all over the body.

Besides, there are other flu-like symptoms:

  • Fatigue;
  • Loss of appetite;
  • Nausea;
  • Vomiting;
  • Low-grade fever;
  • Pain in the abdomen (belly).


There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

Make an appointment with your doctor if you have signs or symptoms of hepatitis A.

If you’ve been exposed to hepatitis A, having a hepatitis A vaccine or immunoglobulin therapy within two weeks of exposure may protect you from infection. Ask your doctor or your local health department about receiving the hepatitis A vaccine if:

  • You’ve traveled internationally recently, particularly to Mexico or South or Central America, or to areas with poor sanitation.
  • A restaurant where you recently ate reports a hepatitis A outbreak.
  • Someone close to you, such as someone you live with or your caregiver, is diagnosed with hepatitis A.
  • You recently had sexual contact with someone who has hepatitis A.

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Know the causes

What causes hepatitis a?

Hepatitis A cause by infecting hepatitis A virus. Hepatitis A virus can be transmitted several ways, such as:

  • Eating food handled by someone with the virus who doesn’t thoroughly wash his or her hands after using the toilet.
  • Drinking contaminated water.
  • Eating raw shellfish from water polluted with sewage.
  • Being in close contact with a person who’s infected — even if that person has no signs or symptoms.
  • Having sex with someone who has the virus.

Know the risk factors

What increases my risk for hepatitis a?

There are many risk factors for hepatitis A, such as:

  • Travel or work in regions with high rates of hepatitis A;
  • Attend child care or work in a child care center;
  • Are a man who has sexual contact with other men;
  • Are HIV positive;
  • Have a clotting-factor disorder, such as hemophilia;
  • Use injected or not injected illicit drugs;
  • Live with another person who has hepatitis A;
  • Have oral-anal contact with someone who has hepatitis A.

Understand the diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is hepatitis a diagnosed?

Blood tests are used to detect the presence of hepatitis A in your body. A sample of blood is taken, usually from a vein in your arm, and sent to a laboratory for testing.

How is hepatitis a treated?

No specific treatment exists for hepatitis A. Your body will clear the hepatitis A virus on its own. In most cases of hepatitis A, the liver heals within six months with no lasting damage. Most people can be cared for at home. During this time, intimate contact with other people should be avoided and visit your doctor regularly to check your condition progress.

You also need to rest because hepatitis A make you feel very tired. Eat nutrient-rich foods such as juice or milk to add energy and nutrients.

Besides, people who come in close contact with you and who have not been previously vaccinated should be given immune serum globulin within 2 weeks of exposure by their physician.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage hepatitis a?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with hepatitis A:

  • Make sure to wash your hands if you have hepatitis or care for someone who does, especially if you contact fecal material.
  • Use separate or disposable eating and drinking utensils.
  • Wash your hands properly after changing a diaper and before doing anything else if you work in a day care center. Restaurant workers should always wash their hands properly.
  • Use proper protection, such as gloves and eyeglasses, if you’re exposed to fecal material and other body-fluids on the job.
  • Call your doctor if your hepatitis symptoms don’t go away within 4 weeks.
  • You will need to rest a lot because most people with hepatitis A are often tired.
  • You may also have nausea and lead to anorexia, so eat nutritious foods to give your body enough energy such as juice or milk.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Review Date: May 30, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

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