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Hepatitis A: An Overview

Thursday, 16 Sep 2010 04:02 PM

Hepatitis A is one of the oldest diseases known to humankind. The hepatitis A virus (HAV) which causes inflammation of the liver causes this viral disease. Antibiotics are ineffective in the treatment of hepatitis A since it is a viral infection.

Hepatitis A: Symptoms and Spread
Hepatitis A symptoms are mild flu-like symptoms including tiredness, fever, loss of appetite, diarrhea, dark-yellow urine, light-colored stool, and yellowish eyes and skin (called jaundice). These symptoms are not conclusive in themselves. Only a blood test will prove if one is infected by the hepatitis A virus. The liver swelling is temporary, and the symptoms of the disease usually abate within a few weeks.
 
The disease is primarily spread through food or water contaminated by fecal matter from an infected person. You can contract hepatitis A in the following ways:

1.
By drinking contaminated water.

2.
By having sex with an infected person.

3.
By not washing your hands after a diaper change.

4.
By eating food prepared by an infected person who did not wash hands properly.

5.
By eating raw oysters or uncooked clams.

6.
By eating uncooked food and untreated water in a region where hepatitis A is common.

Hepatitis A Treatment
Treatment for hepatitis A includes bed rest, medication (to relieve hepatitis A symptoms), and abstinence from alcoholic drinks. It is a self-limiting disease that usually resolves on its own over a few weeks. Since it is not a chronic ailment, treatment for hepatitis A is limited to treating the symptoms alone.

Alcoholic drinks and substances that are toxic to the liver must be avoided as part of hepatitis A treatment. Fatty foods are also best avoided as part of treatment for hepatitis A since liver secretions are needed to digest fats. Most infected people recover without any serious liver damage.
 
During the recovery phase, avoid doing strenuous exercises. Clinical treatment of symptoms must be accompanied by adequate nutrition; therefore, eat small, frequent meals. Stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water, fruit juices, and broth.

Prevention
The best way to protect against the hepatitis A virus is by practicing good hygiene such as washing hands with soap and water, especially after using the toilet, changing diapers, and before preparing food. Vaccines are also available for persons who wish to be protected from hepatitis A.

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Hepatitis A is one of the oldest diseases known to humankind. The hepatitis A virus (HAV) which causes inflammation of the liver causes this viral disease. Antibiotics are ineffective in the treatment of hepatitis A since it is a viral infection. Hepatitis A: Symptoms and...
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2010-02-16
Thursday, 16 Sep 2010 04:02 PM
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