6 Things To Know About The Hepatitis Virus

What is hepatitis?

Simply put, hepatitis is inflammation of the liver due to viruses or other causes. It can be acute or chronic.

What is the difference between Hepatitis A, B, and C?

Hepatitis A, B, and C are caused by three distinct viruses. They have different modes of transmission. Individuals who contract Hepatitis A usually improve without specific medications and do not develop a liver infection. Hepatitis B & C can progress into chronic infection resulting in liver damage.

How do you get the Hepatitis A virus ?

Hepatitis A is spread through the ingestion of any food or material that has come in contact with the stool of an infected individual.

How do you get the Hepatitis B & C virus?

Hepatitis and Hepatitis C are spread through sexual contact, blood transfusion, or sharing of contaminated sharp objects with an infected individual or contact. If a pregnant woman is infected with hepatitis B, she might pass it on to her baby while giving birth. In fact, this is one of the most common ways the disease is transmitted worldwide.

What are the symptoms of Hepatitis?

Not all individuals will show symptoms of viral hepatitis. Individuals who contract Hepatitis A may experience symptoms such as fever, fatigue, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and yellowing of the skin and/or whites of the eyes.

In the chronic phase of Hepatitis B and C, most people do not have symptoms. Later on, people can develop swelling in the legs and belly, bleeding problems, and fatigue. Hepatitis B & C disease can progress even without symptoms.

Can viral hepatitis be treated?

Individuals who contract Hepatitis A usually improve without specific medications. There are medications available for chronic Hep B to control the virus, prevent and delay liver damage, and decrease the chance of developing liver cancer. Treatment is available for Hepatitis C and may lead to viral eradication.

Vaccination offers effective protection against hepatitis B and is even recommended for infants and young children. Children who are not vaccinated should be by the time they reach puberty and no later than the age of 18.

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