What is hepatitis A, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

What is hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is one of the infectious diseases that can be categorised under liver infections. This infectious disease was formerly referred as infectious hepatitis. It is an acute infection being caused by the virus Hepatitis A. This infection causes inflammation in the liver, which is sometimes combined with irritation. Similar to other viral infections, this disease also spread from one person to another. It is spread through eating contaminated water and food and through having direct close contact with infected person. Around ten millions of people are estimated to be infected by Hepatitis A every year worldwide.


When thinking about what causes Hepatitis A, it is nothing but the hygienic practices. More people are prone to get infected by HAV, where they live in a polluted surroundings and unhygienic conditions.

Hepatitis A signs and symptoms

The symptoms of Hepatitis A appear after a couple of weeks of getting infected by the HAV. Approximate incubation period of the Hepatitis A virus is 28 days. However, it lasts even for several months in the body in severe cases.

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Common signs of Hepatitis A infection include the following:

  • Change in urination pattern – Dark urine

  • Weariness throughout the day

  • Loss of appetite

  • Mild Fever

  • Itching, vomiting and nausea

  • Pale coloured stool

  • Jaundice i.e yellow fever

This infection is an acute Hepatitis infection and does not result towards any chronic and severe illness of the liver. However, there are few cases where the infection is severe, might develop chronic liver infections and it accounts for around 15% of the HAV infected person. Immune system of the infected person automatically detects and destroys the Hepatitis A virus and it occurs from a couple of weeks after getting infected. Medication on Hepatitis A virus infection is limited to getting educated about this viral infection and taking measures to get rid of discomfort from the symptoms.

Hepatitis A diagnosis

Hepatitis A is generally diagnosed by blood test to identify the viral infection. Further, based on the signs and symptoms of the individual and the atmosphere where he or she liver, and exposure with HAV infected persons, Hepatitis A viral infection can be diagnosed.

As mentioned above, HAV infects the liver and eventually, immune system of the body begins to produce HAV IGM. It is a unique antibody, which can be described as Hepatitis A immune Globulin M antinodes. Once a person gets infected by HAV, these antibodies grow in a rapid pace. Blood test with positive result on the antibodies is diagnosed as acute Hepatitis A viral infection.

In addition to producing HAV IGM, this body also produce an antibody called HAV IGG. However, the presence can be diagnosed only in the severe infections. When these antibodies are identified by the doctors, they can classify the stages of the infection.

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Treatment of Hepatitis A infection

There is no treatment for Hepatitis A disease and it can only be prevented. The only recommendation for severely infected people is taking rest. Other people infected by the HAV should avoid anything that is likely to trigger the symptoms. For instance, infected liver is unable to digest the fatty food substances, eventually it causes vomiting. Further, the infected people should not consume even a drop of alcohol and any other substances that are likely to be toxic to the liver either it may be a food item or a medicine. For instance, acetaminophen.

Prevention of Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A can be well prevented by living in a healthy and hygienic environment. Further, it can also be prevented by taking Hepatitis A vaccine. This vaccine prevents from getting infected only from Hepatitis A virus and not other type of Hepatitis infections. Hepatitis A vaccine is also termed as Immunization Hepatitis A and Havrix.

There is a Hepatitis A Vaccination schedule. HAV vaccine is injected in the arm. After getting injected with the first dose, the vaccine starts to protect from the infection in a couple of weeks. After getting the first dose of vaccine, the second dose of booster vaccination is given from 6 months to 12 months.

In case of adults, the vaccine is termed as Twinrix, which can protect them from getting infected by both Hepatitis A and hepatitis B infection.

However, Hepatitis A immunisation is not recommended for pregnant women, children below the age of 1 year, people who are allergic to vaccination.

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