Hepatitis A Treatment

Hepatitis A virus causes acute liver inflammation known as hepatitis A. Hepatitis A is a highly contagious form of hepatitis that can cause epidemics through water and food contamination. The virus is found in blood and stool of the infected people. The hepatitis A virus is usually present about 15-45 days before symptoms and during the first week of illness. There is no cure for the disease. Hepatitis A treatment involves making the infected person feel comfortable until the infection passes.

Hepatitis A Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of hepatitis A appear several weeks after contracting the virus. The symptoms include vomiting and nausea, clay-colored bowel movements, joint pain, jaundice and loss of appetite. People with hepatitis A also have dark urine and experience pain and discomfort in the abdomen, especially around the liver area on the right side beneath the lower ribs. Hepatitis A is also characterized by severe illness lasting several months or mild illness lasting a few weeks. Signs and symptoms of hepatitis A are not evident in everyone that has the disease.

When to See a Doctor

See a doctor if you experience the above symptoms to get Hepatitis A treatment. In case you are exposed to hepatitis A, protect yourself from infection by getting immunoglobulin therapy or a hepatitis A vaccine within two weeks. Consult with your doctor about getting the vaccine for hepatitis A if you had sexual contact with someone who has hepatitis A or you recently ate at a restaurant that has reported hepatitis A outbreak.

Hepatitis A Treatments

There is no specific treatment available for hepatitis A. The body will get rid of the hepatitis A virus on its own. Normally, the liver heals fully in six months. The treatment will only help you cope with the symptoms. Here are some tips to treat hepatitis A:

1. Get Plenty of Rest

You will most likely be feeling very tired during the initial stages of hepatitis A infection hence you need to get plenty of rest. You can probably stay off school or work until the flu-like hepatitis A symptoms subside. Also, be keen to avoid vigorous exercise until symptoms start to improve. Your doctor will advise on when you can resume your daily activities.

2. Take OTC Pain Relievers

As part of hepatitis A treatment, ibuprofen or paracetamol can help relieve abdominal pain. However, avoid taking too many tablets as they could damage your liver. Ensure you read the instruction before taking the medicine.

3. Treat Itching

Although itching can be difficult to treat, here are a few tips on how to deal with itching. Wear loose clothing, maintain a cool, well ventilated environment and avoid hot showers or baths. An antihistamine can be prescribed to treat severe cases of itching.

4. Cope with Nausea and Vomiting

If you are experiencing vomiting or nausea due to hepatitis A, avoid fatty foods and eat six smaller meals per day instead of three larger meals. If the nausea and vomiting persist, your doctor can prescribe an antiemetic, called metoclopramide. Metoclopramide comes in the form of a capsule, tablet, injection or powder. The injection form is prescribed only in severe cases.

5. Taking Care of Your Liver

It is important to let your liver rest as you undergo hepatitis A treatment. Avoid drinking alcohol until your doctor says it is safe. Your liver also processes other medications as well as over-the-counter painkillers. It is, therefore, important to avoid some medication or reduce the dosage until you recover from hepatitis A. Follow your doctor’s advice on how much medication you can take. Avoid medicines like acetaminophen as they can harm the liver.

How to Prevent Hepatitis A

1. Keep Good Hygiene

To avoid contracting hepatitis A, ensure you wash your hands properly after using the restroom, before serving food, after changing diapers and when you come into contact with stool, blood and any other body fluid from an infected person. Hepatitis A virus can spread more rapidly in places where people are in close contact like day care centers.

2. Pay Attention to Food and Water

To prevent yourself from getting hepatitis A, keep off unclean food and water. While travelling, take the necessary precautions. Avoid raw or undercooked fish and meat. Ensure you peel fresh vegetables and fruits yourself instead of buying sliced fruits that may have been washed with unclean water. Keep off food from street vendors as well. Heated food should be eaten while still hot. In case you do not get bottled water, boil your drinking water to get rid of hepatitis A. To be sure that the water is safe, bring it to a full boil for at least one minute.

3. Get Vaccination

If you have been exposed to hepatitis A, consult your doctor about a hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin. Hepatitis A vaccines begin to protect you four weeks after the first dose. For long term protection, a booster shot is required 6 to 12 months later. Get a hepatitis A vaccine if you are travelling to countries where outbreaks of the disease have occurred. 

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