Hepatitis A is a contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. It can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Although rare, hepatitis A can cause death in some people. Anyone can get hepatitis A, so prevention is vital.
How is it transmitted?
Hepatitis A spreads when a person ingests the virus from contaminated food or drinks. Contamination occurs when tiny amounts of stool from an infected person spread to the food or drink. Hepatitis A can also spread from close contact with an infected person. This can happen through sex or caring for someone who’s ill.
How can it be prevented?
The best way to prevent hepatitis A is through vaccination. The number and timing of these shots depends on the type of vaccine. It’s also important to practice good hand hygiene. Wash hands after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and before preparing or eating food. This helps prevent the spread of hepatitis A.
How can it be treated?
To treat the symptoms of hepatitis A, doctors usually recommend rest and fluids. Some people will need care in a hospital. It can take a few months before people with hepatitis A begin to feel better. An unvaccinated individual exposed to the virus should get vaccinated within two weeks. This can lessen symptoms.
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