Health Knowledge

Symptoms, Causes, Transmission, Treatment and Prevention of Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A in Figures

Hepatitis A is a disease that is triggered by a virus and can attack the liver. The number of people with Hepatitis A in the world is estimated at 1.4 million people each year. While in Southeast Asia alone, cases of acute hepatitis A attack around 400,000 people per year with a death toll reaching 800 people. Most people with hepatitis A are children.

Symptoms of Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A has early symptoms that can appear including:

  • fever,
  • nausea,
  • throw up,
  • pain in the joints and muscles,
  • diarrhea.

When the liver has started to develop, there are several other symptoms that will appear, such as dark urine, pale stool, jaundice, and itching. In addition, the upper right abdomen will also be painful, especially if pressed.

But not all people experience symptoms of hepatitis A. Therefore, this disease is sometimes difficult to realize. Only one in 10 people with hepatitis A under the age of six years experience jaundice. Whereas in adolescents and adults, this disease usually causes more severe symptoms and around seven out of 10 will experience jaundice.

Causes and Transmission of Hepatitis A

Symptoms, Causes, Transmission, Treatment and Prevention of Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A, photo via KATERYNA KON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

The cause of this disease is the hepatitis A virus which can spread very easily. The main way to spread is through food or drinks that have been contaminated with feces with hepatitis A. Some risk factors that can increase the spread of this virus include:

  • Poor sanitation.
  • Direct contact with sufferers.
  • Share syringes with people with hepatitis A
  • Having s e x with a person, especially anal s e x
  • G a y and other deviant s e x u a l behavior
  • Work in areas related to dirt, such as gutters.

Treatment for Hepatitis A

This disease has no special handling steps because the immune system will eliminate the virus by itself. Step treatment of hepatitis A aims to relieve the symptoms experienced by the sufferer.

Handling includes taking an itch, pain, nausea, and vomiting medication according to the dose. The liver also needs to be left to rest for example by not consuming alcohol and being careful with drugs that can affect the liver.

The time it takes for the person to fully recover from the disease is usually several months. People who have successfully recovered will have complete immunity to this disease.

Risk of Hepatitis A Complications

Hepatitis A infection generally does not cause long-term (chronic) liver disease and rarely is fatal. However, this disease has the potential to cause liver failure, especially in those who have had the liver disease before becoming infected with hepatitis A and elderly patients. In addition, in some patients, this infection can recur or come back again.

Ways to Prevent Hepatitis A

Because the main spread is through the consumption of something contaminated, the main step in preventing hepatitis A is to maintain cleanliness.

Steps to prevent hepatitis can be done easily, for example always washing hands, avoiding consumption of raw or undercooked food, and avoid buying snacks at street vendors.

In addition, hepatitis A vaccination can also prevent this disease. Especially for those who have high risks such as people who suffer from chronic liver disease, people with hemophilia and syringe users.

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