What Is Hepatitis A?
Hepatitis A is a viral infection caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV) and results in severe liver disease and sickness. Inflammation not only damages the liver but also prevents other organs from working properly. Since the liver removes harmful chemicals from the body, stores energy, fights infection, and assists with storing vitamins and nutrients, Hepatitis A can have devastating effects. Though anyone can contract Hepatitis A, it’s more common among people who travel to developing countries, have unprotected sex with an infected individual, use illegal drugs, provide childcare, or live with someone who is infected. If you or somebody you love has contracted the viral infection, contact a qualified Hepatitis A lawyer as soon as you are able. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
How Is Hepatitis A Spread?
Unlike other diseases and illnesses, you cannot get Hepatitis A from simply interacting with an infected person. In other words, hugging, sitting next to, or being coughed on by an infected person will not give you Hepatitis A. Rather, infection is the result of contact with an infected person’s stool. This can happen in a number of ways including:
- Consuming food prepared by an infected person that recently used the bathroom but didn’t wash his or her hands with soap and water.
- Drinking untreated water.
- Coming in close contact with an infected person via sex or caring for someone who is ill.
- Placing something that has been in contact with an infected person’s stool in your mouth.
Unlike Hepatitis B and C, Hepatitis A is temporary and rarely results in chronic liver disease, but if left untreated, acute liver failure could end in death. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Hepatitis A has the tendency to appear in cyclic recurrences, resulting in sporadic and regional epidemics around the globe.
What Are the Symptoms of Hepatitis A?
Many people infected with Hepatitis A might not even know they have it since not everyone experiences symptoms. For those that experience symptoms, there may be loss of appetite, unusually dark yellow urine, upset stomach, fever, fatigue, muscle soreness, diarrhea, and yellowish eyes and skin.
Hepatitis A is diagnosed with a blood test, which can be performed in a doctor’s office or an outpatient facility. Hepatitis A will resolve itself without treatment in as little as a few weeks, though some individuals may retain the illnesses for up to half a year. It is important you seek medical attention as soon as possible and then contact a dedicated Hepatitis A lawyer who can helo you recover damages, if any are available to you based on the specifics of your individual case.
How Can I Avoid Getting Hepatitis A?
The most effective way to avoid Hepatitis A is to receive the Hepatitis A vaccine. Vaccination is recommended for everyone older than 1 year of age and is highly encouraged for those traveling outside of the United States. The Hepatitis A vaccine consists of two shots, which are given six months apart. There’s also a vaccine available for adults aged 18 or older, containing both the Hepatitis A and B vaccines.
Improved sanitation and hygiene, such as properly washing hands, reduces the likelihood of getting Hepatitis A. It’s critical for individuals who are at risk of infection to take the precautions necessary to protect themselves. Hepatitis A is particularly dangerous for men who have sex with other men, people who use drugs, family members and caregivers of those with Hepatitis A, and individuals with chronic liver diseases.
Hepatitis A infections are generally contained to specific regions of the world. Developing countries and areas with poor sanitary conditions are more prone to it. Still, transmission can happen anywhere throughout the globe.
Should I Get Vaccinated?
There are many considerations when it comes to the Hepatitis A vaccination. Medical Professionals encourage you to visit your healthcare advisor to discuss your situation and the options available to you. The following vaccination complications may occur:
- If you’ve previously had an allergic reaction to the Hepatitis A vaccine.
- If you’re severely allergic to a component of the Hepatitis A vaccine.
- If you’re pregnant, especially since the safety of the vaccine among pregnant women is unconfirmed.
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