What is Hepatitis A?
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus, lasting a few weeks to several months. It usually spreads when a person unknowingly gets the virus from objects, foods or drinks contaminated by small amounts of stool from an infected person. Hepatitis A can also spread from very close contact with an infected individual.
Signs and Symptoms of Hepatitis A
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Dark urine
- Clay colored stool
- Joint pain
If you are experiencing any of these signs or symptoms, contact your primary care provider immediately to be seen.
Hepatitis A Vaccine
The best way to prevent hepatitis A is to receive the vaccine. The vaccine is a two series shot, six months apart. Both are needed for long term protection. The hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for all children over one year of age, travelers to countries where hepatitis A is common, men who have sexual encounters with other men, users of recreational drugs, people with chronic long-term liver disease, including hepatitis B or hepatitis C, people with clotting factors disorder, people with direct contact with others who have hepatitis A, and any person wishing to obtain immunity.
If you think you could have hepatitis A, the vaccine will only be effective if given up to two weeks after exposure.
Practice Good Hand Hygiene
Practicing good hand hygiene, including thoroughly washing hands after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and before preparing food or eating food can reduce the risk of spreading germs and hepatitis A.
More Information on Hepatitis A