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Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is an acute inflammation of the liver caused by a virus known as the ‘hepatitis A virus’ (HAV). It is more common in countries with poor sanitation and unsafe water.

Clinically hepatitis A is similar to other types of acute viral hepatitis. In adults, the predominant symptom of acute viral hepatitis due to HAV is jaundice (yellowness of eyes and urine) which is usually preceded by nausea, vomiting, malaise, fever and loss of appetite (prodromal symptoms).

Hepatitis A does not have any treatment. The body clears Hepatitis A on its own. It takes up to 6 months for the liver to heal itself and reverse the damage. However, the patients can fasten the healing process by: Resting the liver: Avoid drinking alcohol. Also, review the medications with your doctor. This will prevent the difficulty in processing the medications by the liver. Manage nausea: Nausea causes difficulty in eating. Eat your meals at short intervals, like in every 2 hours, instead of eating full meals. Drink fruit juice or milk instead of water and eat food with high calorie. Rest your body: Since Hepatitis A makes the patient feel tired and less energetic and sick, resting is recommended.

In the United States in 1991, the mortality rate for hepatitis A was estimated to be 0.015% for the general population, but ranged up to 1.8 -2.1 % for those aged 50 and over which were hospitalized with icteric hepatitis. Young children who are infected with hepatitis A typically have a milder form of the disease, usually lasting 1–3 weeks, whereas adults tend to experience a much more severe form of the disease.