Hepatitis A

What is Hepatitis A 

Hepatitis A is a contagious viral disease that causes inflammation of the liver. Most infected people fully recover from Hepatitis A on their own, but soemtimes severe infection can cause liver failure. 

Hepatitis A is transmitted by consuming contaminated food and water or by direct contact with an infected person, including sexual contact. It is more common in countries or places lacking clean water or sanitation. 


Symptoms of Hepatitis A 

Symptoms usually begin 2-4 weeks after being infected with the virus. Some people can have no symptoms. 

Symptoms may include: 

  • abdominal pain, especially on the right side (where the liver is located) 
  • nausea and vomiting 
  • loss of appetite 
  • fever and fatigue 
  • muscle/joint pains 
  • dark urine 
  • yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes 



There is no medicine to treat hepatitis A. 

There is no specific treatment for Hepatitis A. Plenty of fluids, rest and pain/nausea relief are recommended. 

It is important to protect your liver by: 

  • avoiding alcohol 
  • check with your doctor or pharmacist about any medications you are currently taking 



The best protection against Hepatitis A is vaccination. 

Hygiene is particularly improtant to prevent the spread. Especially wash your hands: 

  • after going to the toilet
  • before consuming/preparing food 
  • after handling anything with body fluids (nappies, condoms) 

If you are infected, you are infectious for 2 weeks before symptoms started and 1 week after symptoms stop. To prevent the spread: 

  • Avoid touching people 
  • Avoid preparing food for others 
  • Do not share eating and drinking utensils or towels 
  • Avoid having sex 


Hepatitis A Vaccination 

The best protection against Hepatitis A is vaccination. 

The vaccination is given in 2 doses, the second dose given at least 6 months after the first dose. 

There is no live virus in the Hepatitis A vaccine, so you cannot get infected and they are safe for immunocompromised individuals. There is research to suggest that the vaccination is 100% effective. 

Your doctor may suggest vaccination if you are visiting regions/countries where hepatitis A is common. 

Can I get the vaccination if I'm pregnant? Hepatitis A vaccines are not routinely recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women. However, these women can receive  these vaccines if necessary. Please speak to your doctor. 


Adverse Effects of Vaccination 

The Hepatitis A vaccination is very safe. Side effects after vaccination are minor and temporary, they may include: 

  • soreness at the injection site 
  • headache
  • tiredness 





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