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Hepatitis A: Is It a Serious Liver Disease?

North Texas Liver Care

One of the most known liver diseases in North Texas is Hepatitis. However, Hepatitis appears in several different forms: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and Autoimmune Hepatitis. Each type of Hepatitis has a specific cause as well as a unique treatment. In this article, The Methodist Transplant Specialists will answer your most pressing questions about Hepatitis A.

What is Hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A, or HAV, is an extremely contagious, viral form of Hepatitis. It causes the liver to swell, preventing it from functioning properly.

How Can I Get Hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is passed through direct human contact as well as through food and beverages, including those from a contaminated water source. HAV may also be passed through sexual contact with someone who has the virus. Most often, cases of Hepatitis A are spread by failure to wash hands properly before handling food or after using the restroom. However, some cases are contracted by eating raw or undercooked shellfish that came from polluted water.

How Do I Know If I Have Hepatitis A?

After contracting the virus, symptoms of Hepatitis A may not appear for two to seven weeks. Some people, especially children, may experience no symptoms at all.

The most common symptoms of Hepatitis A include:

  • Tiredness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Pain near the liver
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin)
  • Muscle and joint soreness
  • Itchy skin

If you think you might have Hepatitis A, see your doctor immediately to rule out other, more serious, liver disease. The only way to accurately diagnose Hepatitis A is through a blood test.

Is There a Cure for Hepatitis A?

Yes, the human body can heal itself from the Hepatitis A virus. It will usually go away within about six months. In rare cases, Hepatitis A may cause liver failure, most often in those who suffer from other chronic liver disease.

How Can I Prevent Hepatitis A?

The best way to prevent Hepatitis A is through vaccination. The vaccine is given in two doses over a six-month period. There are other ways to prevent Hepatitis A:

  • Wash hands thoroughly before preparing food
  • Wash hands thoroughly after using the restroom
  • Avoid contact with infected persons
  • Avoid travel to countries with a high rate of Hepatitis A
  • Avoid using illicit drugs

Do you think you or someone you know has Hepatitis A? Use the form on the left to contact us or call us at 1-877-4A-LIVER to find out how The Methodist Transplant Specialists can help!

Do you think you or someone you know has Hepatitis A? Contact us or call us at 1-877-4A-LIVER to find out how The Liver Institute can help!