All you need to know about Hepatitis

Hepatitis is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis virus which could be easily contracted from a victim through contact of body fluids (blood, sweat, saliva) or sexually. It could also be contracted if by chance a person consumes the waste passed out from a carrier. Slight contact with these fluids can transmit the disease.

Hepatitis refers to an inflammatory condition of the liver. It’s commonly caused by a viral infection, but there are other possible causes of hepatitis. These include autoimmune hepatitis and hepatitis that occurs as a secondary result of medications, drugs, toxins, and alcohol. 

THE FIVE TYPES OF HEPATITIS

Viral infections of the liver that are classified as hepatitis include hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E. A different virus is responsible for each type of virally transmitted hepatitis.


Hepatitis A: Hepatitis A is caused by an infection with the hepatitis A virus (HAV). This type of hepatitis is most commonly transmitted by consuming food or water contaminated by faeces from a person infected with.
Hepatitis B: Hepatitis B is transmitted through contact with infectious body fluids, such as blood, vaginal secretions, or semen, containing the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Injection drug use, having sex with an infected partner, or sharing razors with an infected person increase your risk of getting.
Hepatitis C: Hepatitis C comes from the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Hepatitis C is transmitted through direct contact with infected body fluids, typically through injection drug use and sexual contact.
Hepatitis D: Also called delta hepatitis, hepatitis D is a serious liver disease caused by the hepatitis D virus (HDV). HDV is contracted through direct contact with infected blood.
Hepatitis E: Hepatitis E is a waterborne disease caused by the hepatitis E virus (HEV). Hepatitis E is mainly found in areas with poor sanitation and typically results from ingesting faecal matter that contaminates the water supply.

SYMPTOMS

  1. Abdominal pain
  2. Dark urine
  3. Fever
  4. Joint pain
  5. Loss of appetite
  6. Nausea and vomiting
  7. Weakness and fatigue
  8. Yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice)

COMMON CAUSES

There are different types of hepatitis, with different causes:

  1. Viral hepatitis is the most common type. It is caused by one of several viruses — hepatitis viruses A, B, C, D, and E.
  2. Alcoholic hepatitis is caused by heavy alcohol use.
  3. Toxic hepatitis can be caused by certain poisons, chemicals, medicines, or supplements.
  4. Autoimmune hepatitis is a chronic type in which your body’s immune system attacks your liver. The cause is not known, but genetics and your environment may play a role.

PREVENTION

  • Hygiene

Practicing good hygiene is one key way to avoid contracting hepatitis A and E. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after any potential exposure to blood. If you’re traveling to a developing country, you should avoid:

  • local water
  • ice
  • raw or undercooked shellfish and oysters
  • raw fruit and vegetables
  • Avoid direct contact with blood and bodily fluids
  • Clean up blood spills with a fresh diluted bleach solution (mix 1 part bleach with 9 parts water)
  • Cover all cuts carefully
  • Avoid sharing sharp items such as razors, nail clippers, toothbrushes, and earrings or body rings
  • Discard sanitary napkins and tampons into plastic bags
  • Avoid illegal street drugs (injecting, inhaling, snorting, or popping pills)
  • Make sure new, sterile needles are used for ear or body piercing, tattoos, etc.

    Hepatitis B, C, and D contracted through sexual intercourse and contaminated blood. It can be prevented by:
  • Using condoms with sexual partners
  • Avoid direct contact with blood and bodily fluids
  • not sharing drug needles
  • not sharing razors
  • not using someone else’s toothbrush
  • not touching spilled blood

Hepatitis B and C can also be contracted through sexual intercourse and intimate sexual contact. Practicing safe sex by using condoms 

VACCINE

  • Hepatitis A

The HAV vaccine can prevent hepatitis A. This shot is routine for infants between the ages of 12­ and 23 months. Unvaccinated children older than 23 months, adolescents, and adults should also have this shot.

  • Hepatitis B

The HBV vaccine is a routine shot that usually immunizes people for life. A person will typically have the first dose at birth and complete the schedule at 6 months old.

An unvaccinated child or adolescent below the age of 19 should also have the shot. Some adults who are not vaccinated should also receive the vaccine — for example, those traveling to areas where hepatitis B is common.

  • Hepatitis C

There is currently no vaccine for hepatitis C.

  • Hepatitis D

The HBV vaccine hepatitis D, which is a coinfection of hepatitis B. However, the vaccine will not protect a person from hepatitis D if they already have chronic hepatitis B.

  • Hepatitis E

There is no approved vaccine for hepatitis E

TREATMENT

Treatment options are determined by which type of hepatitis you have and whether the infection is acute or chronic.

  • Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A usually doesn’t require treatment because it’s a short-term illness. Bed rest may be recommended if symptoms cause a great deal of discomfort

  • Hepatitis B

Acute hepatitis B doesn’t require specific treatment.

Chronic hepatitis B is treated with antiviral medications. This form of treatment can be costly because it must be continued for several months or years. Treatment for chronic hepatitis B also requires regular medical evaluations and monitoring to determine if the virus is responding to treatment.

  • Hepatitis C

Antiviral medications are used to treat both acute and chronic forms of hepatitis C. People who develop chronic hepatitis C are typically treated with a combination of antiviral drug therapies. They may also need further testing to determine the best form of treatment.

  • Hepatitis D

No antiviral medications exist for the treatment of hepatitis D at this time. Hepatitis D can be prevented by getting the vaccination for hepatitis B, as infection with hepatitis B is necessary for hepatitis D to develop.

  • Hepatitis E

Currently, no specific medical therapies are available to treat hepatitis E. Because the infection is often acute, it typically resolves on its own. People with this type of infection are often advised to get adequate rest, drink plenty of fluids, get enough nutrients, and avoid alcohol. However, pregnant women who develop this infection require close monitoring and care.

 

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