Hepatitis A (cont.)
In this Article
- Hepatitis A facts*
- What is hepatitis A?
- What is the liver?
- What causes hepatitis A?
- Who gets hepatitis A?
- How could I get hepatitis A?
- What are the symptoms of hepatitis A?
- How is hepatitis A diagnosed?
- How is hepatitis A treated?
- How can I avoid getting hepatitis A?
- What should I do if I think I have been exposed to the hepatitis A virus?
- Hope through Research
- For More Information
- Find a local Gastroenterologist in your town
How is hepatitis A diagnosed?
Blood tests will show if you have hepatitis A or another type of hepatitis.
How is hepatitis A treated?
Hepatitis A usually gets better in a few weeks without treatment. Get lots of rest and avoid drinking alcohol, which bothers the liver. Your doctor may suggest medicines to help relieve your symptoms, or medicines you may want to avoid. If symptoms persist, especially if you are an older person, then you should see a doctor again.
When you recover, your body will have learned to fight off a future hepatitis A infection. However, you can still get other kinds of hepatitis.
How can I avoid getting hepatitis A?
You can avoid getting hepatitis A by getting the hepatitis A vaccine.
Vaccines are medicines that keep you from getting sick. Vaccines teach the body to attack specific germs. The hepatitis A vaccine teaches your body to attack the hepatitis A virus.
The hepatitis A vaccine is given through two shots. The second shot is given 6 to 12 months after the first shot. Both shots are needed to be fully protected from the virus.
All children should be vaccinated and must be at least 12 months old to get the first shot. Discuss the hepatitis A vaccine with your child's doctor.
Adults at higher risk of getting hepatitis A and people with chronic liver disease should also be vaccinated.
If you are traveling to countries where hepatitis A is common, including Mexico, try to get both shots before you go. If you don't have time to get both shots before you travel, get the first shot as soon as possible. Most people gain some protection within 2 weeks after the first shot.
You can also protect yourself and others from hepatitis A if you
- always wash your hands with warm, soapy water after using the toilet or
changing diapers and before fixing food or eating
- use bottled water for drinking, making ice cubes, and washing fruits and vegetables when you are in a developing country
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