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Hepatitis A (HAV) InfectionInfecci³n por virus de la hepatitis A (VHA)

Hepatitis A (HAV) Infection

Washing hands thoroughly and often is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of HAV.
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. It has many causes. One of the causes is infection with a virus called the hepatitis A virus (HAV). This virus most often spreads through infected food or water. It can also spread directly from person to person. This could happen if someone does not wash his or her hands after coming in contact with infected stool-for example, after using the bathroom or changing a dirty diaper. HAV spreads more easily in group settings such as daycare centers or nursing homes. Unlike Hepatitis B and C, HAV cannot become a chronic illness. It rarely causes long-term problems.

Symptoms of Hepatitis A Infection

Symptoms usually appear about 2 to 6 weeks after exposure to the virus. Possible symptoms include:

  • Fever

  • Tiredness and weakness

  • Pain in the stomach area

  • Loss of appetite

  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea

  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, dark urine, light-colored stools)

  • Itchy skin

Diagnosing Hepatitis A

A sample of blood is taken to test for HAV. Other tests may be done to check the health of the liver.

Treating Hepatitis A

There is no cure for hepatitis A. The virus will run its course. Treat symptoms as you would flu symptoms, including drinking fluids and getting plenty of rest. During recovery, avoid fatty foods. DO NOT drink alcohol, which can damage the liver. Also DO NOT take any over-the-counter medications without checking with your healthcare provider. The liver processes all medications, and certain medications can be harmful to the infected liver.

Preventing Hepatitis A from Spreading

A person with hepatitis A can spread the virus to others, even before symptoms appear. He or she can continue to spread the virus for a few days after symptoms start. Take these precautions to prevent HAV from spreading:

  • Wash hands often, and always after using the bathroom or changing diapers and before preparing food or eating. Work up a good lather with soap and warm water. Scrub for at least 10-15 seconds, then rinse.

  • Avoid work and public areas until symptoms are gone.

  • Once you've had hepatitis A, you cannot get it again, so you don't need the hepatitis A vaccine. But you should consider vaccination against hepatitis B, a more serious form of hepatitis.

  • Members of the household should be vaccinated against hepatitis A and B if they haven't been already

When to Call the Healthcare Provider

  • Symptoms get worse instead of better

  • You have signs of dehydration: decreased urination; very dark urine; dry, sticky mouth

  • You have swelling in the hands, arms, feet, ankles, abdomen, or face

  • You bleed from the nose, mouth, or rectum or have bloody stools

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For top-quality, up-to-date care for gastrointestinal problems, trust the board-certified, experienced GI specialists trusted by thousands of patients and their doctors for nearly 30 years. Call Gastroenterology Consultants at (281) 481-9400 or fill out our online Request an Appointment form to schedule your consultation with us.

Gastroenterology Consultants

Ellington

444 FM 1959, Suite A,
Houston, TX 77034
Direct Phone: 281-481-9400

St. John

2060 Space Park Drive, Suite 306
Nassau Bay, TX 77058
Direct Phone: 281-892-2460

Clear Lake

250 Blossom Street, Suite 210 Webster, TX 77598
Direct Phone: 281-316-1119

Pasadena

4211 Fairmont Parkway
Pasadena, TX 77504
Direct Phone: 832-456-8434

Pearland

15015 Kirby Dr. Ste.200A
Pearland, TX 77047
Direct Phone: 713-343-6360

League City

2555 S. Gulf Freeway Ste. 500
League City, TX 77573
Direct Phone: 281-481-9400

Gastroenterology Consultants is a leader in advanced, comprehensive gastrointestinal care. We specialize in up-to-date gastrointestinal care, which includes screening and treatment for colon cancer, heartburn and acid reflux, esophageal disorders and difficulty swallowing, peptic ulcers, H. pylori, gallstones and other gallbladder disorders, rectal bleeding and hemorrhoids, malabsorption and celiac disease, liver diseases - hepatitis C, hepatitis B, cirrhosis, fatty liver disease, hepatoma and liver cancer, abdominal pain, noncardiac chest pain, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer, anemia, nausea and vomiting, gas and bloating and lactose intolerance

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