Definition and Hepatitis A Transmission
Hepatitis A (Hep A, HAV) is an incredibly contagious liver infection. It is one of the other hepatitis viruses that impact the liver. Learn more about Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. Hepatitis A only affects fewer than 20,000 Americans yearly and it is easily prevented by the Hep A vaccine. While hep a transmission is more likely through contaminated food or water, or bodily contact with someone infected with the virus, Hepatitis A can also be transmitted sexually.
Hepatitis A is transmitted through consuming water or food contaminated with the feces of someone infected with Hep A, consuming raw shellfish that has been in contact with sewage, or by having sexual intercourse with someone who has the virus. Find out more about other sexually transmitted diseases here.
Symptoms of Hepatitis A (Hep A)
You might find yourself wondering, ‘is Hepatitis A contagious?’ Yes, it is highly contagious. Symptoms of Hep A commonly emerge a few weeks after being exposed to the virus. Some symptoms of Hepatitis A include:
- Jaundice, or yellow colored skin and eyes
- Dark urine
- Joint pain
- Abdominal pain, especially around your liver (below your ribs on the right side)
- Loss of appetite
- A mild fever
It’s important to keep in mind that some people do not exhibit any symptoms even when they have been infected with Hep A. This is especially common in children. The virus can still be spread even without a person exhibiting any signs or symptoms.
Symptoms typically last for 2-6 weeks and the majority of those infected with the Hepatitis A virus completely recover. It is rare for Hepatitis A to lead to liver failure; this is more common in the elderly.
Hepatitis A Treatment
If you worry that you’ve been exposed to Hep A, your doctor can diagnose you by examining symptoms and drawing a blood sample. There is no specific Hepatitis A treatment, since the body typically heals itself. Instead, those suffering from Hep A should rest, drink plenty of fluids, and avoid alcohol.
The best way to avoid Hepatitis A is through prevention. The Hepatitis A vaccine is very effective; since its introduction in 1995, the amount of people infected with Hep A has decreased dramatically. Essentially everyone should receive the vaccine. The Hepatitis A vaccine schedule is comprised of two shots given six months apart. You should also always wash your hands thoroughly and avoid contact with anyone who may be exposed to the Hepatitis A virus.
Schedule a hep A appointment with Advanced Urology in the Chicago suburbs
If you suspect that you’ve been infected with the Hepatitis A virus, see a doctor immediately. Because Hep A can be sexually transmitted, the Advanced Urology experts can help. The Advuro Associates are knowledgeable in STIs that occur in both men and women. Call us today at 815.409.4930. We offer services near Chicago, Joliet, Frankfort, New Lenox, Morris, and Naperville, Illinois.
Please visit any of our locations in the Chicagoland area:
Advanced Urology Morris
1401 Lakewood Dr. Unit 3
Morris, IL 60450
Advanced Urology Silver Cross Location
1890 Silver Cross Blvd.
Pavilion A, Ste. 430
New Lenox, IL 60451
Advanced Urology AUA Prostate Cancer Center
1541 Riverboat Center Drive
Joliet, IL 60431