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Hepatitis A

more about Hepatitis A


  • Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis A is a specific type of hepatitis.

  • First phase (lasts 1 week):
    1. Fatigue
    2. "Not feeling well"
    3. Loss of appetite
    4. Nasal discharge
    5. Sore throat
    6. Skin rashes
    7. Joint pain
    8. Fever or Chills
    9. Nausea/vomiting
    10. Abdominal pain
    11. Diarrhea or Constipation
  • Second ("icteric") phase (occurs 5-10 days after first phase):
    1. Yellow skin or eyes
    2. Usually earlier symptoms improve.
    3. Infants and young children my not become "icteric"
  • Third (convalescent) phase:
    1. Continued steady improvement
    2. Note: fatigue may last up to 3 months.

  • It is caused by the hepatitis A virus.
  • Hepatitis A is spread when food is contaminated with infected fecal material (even small amounts).
  • This may occur when a food handler does not wash properly after defecating, or when food crops are contaminated with sewage water.

  • Yellow skin or eyes
  • Liver tenderness
  • Spleen tenderness
  • Elevated AST, ALT, and total bilirubin
  • Alkaline phosphatase may be elevated
  • Hepatitis A antibody testing to confirm diagnosis.

- High-titer of IgM-specific antibody to HAV


  • Rest, hydration, and adequate nutrition
  • Do not use medications that contain acetaminophen, e.g., Tylenol
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages and medicines containing alcohol
  • Palatable food -- do not limit protein as is done in hepatic encephalopathy.  Protein helps to heal the liver in active hepatitis.

  • Hepatitis A in most cases resolves completely on its own without long-term problems.
  • Very rarely, a severe fulminant form can occur that results in liver failure.

  • If your child has any of the following symptoms, he/she needs hospitalization:
    1. Severe vomiting and Dehydration
    2. Bleeding problems
    3. Suspected brain dysfunction

  • Strict hand washing after bowel movements for those with the infection
  • Hand washing by all food handlers
  • Immune globulin for close contacts and, household contacts
  • Immune globulin may be given to those in day care centers or at high risk of exposure during a school outbreak
  • Hepatitis A vaccine is available for travelers or those at high risk of exposure.




more about Hepatitis A


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