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Hepatitis A



What is hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is a virus, or infection, that causes liver disease and inflammation of the liver. Viruses can cause sickness. For example, the flu is caused by a virus. People can pass viruses to each other.

Inflammation is swelling that occurs when tissues of the body become injured or infected. Inflammation can cause organs to not work properly.

What is the liver?

The liver is an organ that does many important things. You cannot live without a liver.

The liver

Who gets hepatitis A?

Anyone can get hepatitis A, but those more likely to are people who

Also, men who have sex with men are more likely to get hepatitis A.

How could I get hepatitis A?

You could get hepatitis A through contact with an infected person's stool. This contact could occur by

You cannot get hepatitis A from

A baby cannot get hepatitis A from breast milk.


What are the symptoms of hepatitis A?

Most people do not have any symptoms of hepatitis A. If symptoms of hepatitis A occur, they include

Symptoms of hepatitis A can occur 2 to 7 weeks after coming into contact with the virus. Children younger than age 6 may have no symptoms. Older children and adults often get mild, flulike symptoms. See a doctor right away if you or a child in your care has symptoms of hepatitis A.

How is hepatitis A diagnosed?

A blood test will show if you have hepatitis A. Blood tests are done at a doctor's office or outpatient facility. A blood sample is taken using a needle inserted into a vein in your arm or hand. The blood sample is sent to a lab to test for hepatitis A.

How is hepatitis A treated?

Hepatitis A usually gets better in a few weeks without treatment. However, some people can have symptoms for up to 6 months. Your doctor may suggest medicines to help relieve your symptoms. Talk with your doctor before taking prescription and over-the-counter medicines.

See your doctor regularly to make sure your body has fully recovered. If symptoms persist after 6 months, then you should see your 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 receiving the hepatitis A vaccine.

Vaccines are medicines that keep you from getting sick. Vaccines teach the body to attack specific viruses and infections. The hepatitis A vaccine teaches your body to attack the hepatitis A virus.

The hepatitis A vaccine is given in two shots. The second shot is given 6 to 12 months after the first shot. You should get both hepatitis A vaccine shots to be fully protected.

All children should be vaccinated between 12 and 23 months of age. 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

What should I do if I think I have been in contact with the hepatitis A virus?

See your doctor right away if you think you have been in contact with the hepatitis A virus. A dose of the hepatitis A vaccine or a medicine called hepatitis A immune globulin may protect you from getting sick if taken shortly after coming into contact with the hepatitis A virus.

Eating, Diet, and Nutrition

If you have hepatitis A, you should do things to take care of yourself, including eating a healthy diet. Avoid drinking alcohol, which can harm the liver. Talk with your doctor before taking vitamins and other supplements.

Points to Remember

Clinical Trials

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and other components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conduct and support research into many diseases and conditions.

What are clinical trials, and are they right for you?

Clinical trials are part of clinical research and at the heart of all medical advances. Clinical trials look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat disease. Researchers also use clinical trials to look at other aspects of care, such as improving the quality of life for people with chronic illnesses. Find out if clinical trials are right for you .

What clinical trials are open?

Clinical trials that are currently open and are recruiting can be viewed at www.ClinicalTrials.gov

-NIH



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