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Health Information For Parents
Hepatitis A is a contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). Hepatitis A is also called infectious hepatitis.
HAV spreads through the feces (poop) of infected individuals. Someone can become infected by eating, drinking, or touching something (such as doorknobs or diapers) that’s been contaminated by poop. Childcare centers are a common site of outbreaks.
HAV can spread:
Hepatitis A can remain in the stool for several months after the initial illness, especially in babies and younger children.
A safe and very effective vaccine against HAV became available in 1995. HAV infections now are rare in the United States and other developed countries with good sanitation and clean living conditions.
People who haven’t been immunized can get an HAV infection if they:
Hepatitis A can be a mild infection, particularly in kids younger than 6, so many people might not ever know that they had an infection.
When symptoms do happen, they typically start 2 to 6 weeks after exposure to the virus and are more likely in adults and kids older than 6. HAV can cause vomiting and diarrhea, as well as fever, loss of appetite, darker than usual urine (pee), jaundice (when the skin and whites of the eyes look yellow), and abdominal (belly) pain.
HAV infections that cause serious symptoms can last for weeks or even months. Some people with HAV can feel ill for up to 6 months.
If needed, doctors can do a blood test to look for HAV antibodies. Many mild HAV infections go undetected.
No specific medicines are used to treat hepatitis A. The infection will go away on its own, usually within a few weeks or months.
HAV in rare cases can cause liver failure, requiring a liver transplant.
Unlike some other hepatitis viruses, hepatitis A rarely leads to long-lasting liver damage. Within a few weeks, the symptoms will have gone away on their own and the virus won’t be in a person’s system.
After recovering, a person is immune to the virus for the rest of his or her life.
Yes. The hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for all children over 1 year old. The vaccine is given at 12 months of age, followed by a second dose at least 6 months later. Having many young kids vaccinated against HAV can limit the spread of the disease in a community.
The vaccine can be given as early as 6 months of age to babies who will travel to a place where hepatitis A is common (they will still need routine vaccination after their first birthday).
The vaccine also is recommended for older kids, teens, and adults who have never gotten it.
The best way to prevent hepatitis A and many other infections is to wash hands well and often. This is especially important after using the toilet (or changing a diaper) and before eating or preparing food.
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. Most cases are caused by a virus â either hepatitis A, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C â all of which can be passed to others by someone who is infected.
Find out when and why your child needs to get this vaccine.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) spreads from person to person through blood or other body fluids. A vaccine is approved for people of all ages to prevent HBV infection.
Find out when and why your child needs this vaccine.
The hepatitis C virus (HCV) spreads through blood or other body fluids, and can lead to cirrhosis or liver cancer. The most common way people become infected is by sharing drug paraphernalia.
It’s sneaky, it’s silent, and it can permanently harm your liver. Read this article for more information on hepatitis.
Hepatitis, an infectious liver disease, is more contagious than HIV. Find out about the different types of hepatitis.
Hepatitis A is a contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). The hepatitis A vaccine has helped to make the infection rare in the United States.
Hepatitis B can move from one person to another through blood and other body fluids. For this reason, people usually get it through unprotected sex or by sharing needles.
Find out what the experts have to say.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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