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What is Hepatitis A and B: Symptoms, causes,

What is Hepatitis A and B: Symptoms, causes,

What is hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a highly contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus. The virus is one of several types of hepatitis viruses that cause inflammation and affect your liver’s ability to function.

How can I get hepatitis A

HAV infections can be transmitted by the fecal-oral route, by either person-to-person contact or through consumption of contaminated food or water.  Practicing good hygiene, including washing hands frequently, is one of the best ways to protect against hepatitis A. Vaccines are available for people most at risk.

What are the symptoms

Hepatitis A signs and symptoms typically don’t appear until you’ve had the virus for a few weeks. But not everyone with hepatitis A develops them. If you do, hepatitis signs and symptoms can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Sudden nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort, especially on the upper right side beneath your lower ribs (by your liver)
  • Clay-colored bowel movements
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low-grade fever
  • Dark urine
  • Joint pain
  • Yellowing of the skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice)
  • Intense itching
  • These symptoms may be relatively mild and go away in a few weeks. Sometimes, however, hepatitis A infection results in a severe illness that lasts several months.

What should I do

Getting a hepatitis A vaccine or an injection of immunoglobulin (an antibody) within two weeks of exposure to hepatitis A may protect you from infection. Ask your doctor or your local health department about receiving the hepatitis A vaccine.

What is hepatitis B

It is a serious liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). For some people, hepatitis B infection becomes chronic, meaning it lasts more than six months. Having chronic hepatitis B increases your risk of developing liver failure, liver cancer or cirrhosis — a condition that permanently scars of the liver.

The virus is passed from person to person through blood, semen or other body fluids. It does not spread by sneezing or coughing.

What are the symptoms

Signs and symptoms of hepatitis B range from mild to severe. They usually appear about one to four months after you’ve been infected, although you could see them as early as two weeks post-infection. Some people, usually young children, may not have any symptoms.

  • Abdominal pain
  • Dark urine
  • Fever
  • Joint pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice)
  • If you know you’ve been exposed to hepatitis B, contact your doctor immediately. A preventive treatment may reduce your risk of infection if you receive the treatment within 24 hours of exposure to the virus.

How is hepatitis B spread

You may get hepatitis B if you have unprotected sex with someone who is infected. The virus can pass to you if the person’s blood, saliva, semen or vaginal secretions enter your body. Sharing of needles. HBV easily spreads through needles and syringes contaminated with infected blood. Sharing IV drug paraphernalia puts you at high risk of hepatitis B.

How do I prevent getting hepatitis B

The hepatitis B vaccine is typically given as three or four injections over six months. You can’t get hepatitis B from the vaccine.

Know the HBV status of any sexual partner. Don’t engage in unprotected sex unless you’re absolutely certain your partner isn’t infected with HBV or any other sexually transmitted infection.

Use a new latex or polyurethane condom every time you have sex if you don’t know the health status of your partner. Remember that although condoms can reduce your risk of contracting HBV, they don’t eliminate the risk.