Hepatitis A is a liver disease caused by a virus which is found in the stool (bowel movement) of an infected person. People with hepatitis A can be very sick and usually need to see a doctor in order to get better. There is no treatment for hepatitis A. However, hepatitis A is a vaccine preventable disease.
How is Hepatitis A spread?
This disease is spread from person to person by hands that have not been washed after going to the bathroom or by touching items such as diapers or linens soiled by bowel movement. It can also be spread by water or ice and by eating foods that may have become contaminated during handling. Hepatitis A can also be spread by sharing items such as eating utensils, cups, cigarettes, lip balm or other items used to take drugs.
What are the Symptoms of Hepatitis A?
• Stomach pain
• Dark urine
• Loss of appetite
• Yellowing of the skin and eyeballs (jaundice)
• Diarrhea or Abnormal stools (pale & floating)
How can Hepatitis A be prevented?
• Always wash your hands after using the bathroom.
• Always wash your hands after cleaning the toilet.
• Always wash your hands after changing diapers
• Always wash your hands after handling soiled towels or linens.
• Always wash your hands before fixing food or eating
• If exposed to hepatitis A, ask your doctor about immune globulin.
• If traveling to areas where hepatitis A is common:
-get immune globulin or vaccination before travel
-drink bottled beverages; and
-do not eat uncooked fruits or vegetables, unless you peel them yourself.
Hepatitis A Vaccine
The hepatitis A vaccine is a 2 dose shot and is available at Cabell-Huntington Health Department. The cost of the vaccine is $75.00 per shot. The second dose in the series is given 6 months after the first dose.