What is Hepatitis A?
Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis is a liver disease caused mostly by the hepatitis virus although other causes of hepatitis include heavy alcohol use, toxins, some medications, and certain medical conditions. The virus can affect anyone.
Signs and Symptoms
- Jaundice (yellowing of skin, eyes)
- Decreased appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Upset stomach
- Dark urine or light color stools
- Joint pain
How does Hepatitis A Spread?
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious virus that spreads from close personal contact with the infected person’s stool and blood, sexual contact (oral-anal sex), and consuming contaminated food or drinks.
What is the Hepatitis A Vaccine and how do you prevent it?
Vaccination is the best way to prevent hepatitis A. Proper hand hygiene often using soap and water after using the bathroom, before preparing meals, anytime hands are visibly soiled, and after changing diapers are some ways to prevent it. There are two types of hepatitis A vaccines. The first type is a single dose given as two shots 6 months apart. The second type is a combination of hepatitis A and B given to those 18 years old and older. The vaccine is effective in 1-2 weeks after first dose and 20 years to lifetime after 2nd dose
Who needs the Hepatitis A Vaccine?
- All children ages 12 to 24 months
- All children and adolescents 2 to 18 years old who have not previously received the vaccine
- Pregnant women
- Anyone requesting it
- International travelers who have not received a vaccine
- Men having sex with men
- Drug users
- Those with occupational risks
- The homeless
- Those with HIV
- Those with chronic liver disease