Hepatitis A: The Deadly Infection By Poor Sanitation
Hepatitis A is an infection caused by the hepatitis A virus that can lead to liver inflammation and it’s damage and is typically spread due to the contact of food or water contaminated by an infected person’s stool. It is an acute and short term infection which does not generally result in long-term complications, like cirrhosis as the infection lasts only for a short time. Although in rare cases it may lead to liver failure.
This infection is most commonly contracted by people habituating the developing countries. These people have limited supply to clean water and live with poor sanitation. Vaccination for hepatitis A is available and should be given to all infants between the age 12 months and 23 months. Also adults who are likely to contract hepatitis A or have chronic liver disease should get the vaccine.
Hepatitis A infected people may have no symptoms or can develop symptoms within 2 weeks to 5 weeks after being exposed to the virus and can typically get better in a few weeks, although in some cases these symptoms may last up to 6 months. These symptoms may include
Dark yellow coloured urine
Gray coloured stools
Jaundice where an individual has yellowish eyes and skin
Consuming food prepared by an infected person who did not wash hands after using the toilet
Consuming untreated water or food washed with untreated water
Touching the mouth or the inside of the mouth after coming in contact with an infected person’s stool
Having unprotected sex or being in very close personal contact with an infected person
Hepatitis A is is primarily diagnosed by checking the symptoms for it and performing a blood test to find out if there is a presence of antibodies to hepatitis A in the body.
Managing Hepatitis A
Adequate bed rest
Consuming plenty of water and healthy foods
No consumption of alcohol.
Taking the prescribed medication advised by the doctor to relieve the symptoms.
Also, mostly the people who are diagnosed with hepatitis A start to get well and feel better after a few weeks on their own.
Regular check-up with you physician or doctor
Vaccination is the way to go to prevent contraction of Hepatitis A. Children and teens from the age of 1 to 18 years should be immunised with the vaccine consisting of two or three doses. But, adults require a booster dose which is given after the initial dose of the vaccine for 6 to 12 months. The vaccine given is typically effective for 15–20 years or more. Also it is important to remember to maintain cleanliness and proper hygiene. This includes to wash your hands with soap after using the toilet and before or after handling food which is to be consumed.
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