for Hepatitis A
What is Hepatitis A (HAV)?
As a highly contagious liver infection, Hepatitis A is one of the three forms of hepatitis that is caused by the Hepatitis A virus (HAV). Although HAV is primarily spread through food or water that’s been contaminated by the stool from an infected person, you can also catch the disease by eating food prepared by an infected individual who hasn’t washed their hands after using the bathroom. HAV can also be spread by engaging in anal or oral sex with an infected individual, or not washing hands after changing a diaper. Although HAV can cause your liver to swell, the disease rarely causes lasting damage. In fact, your body will almost always clear the virus.
What are the symptoms of Hepatitis A (HAV)?
Most of the time, signs and symptoms of HAV don’t appear until a few weeks after you’ve been infected — although not everyone with HAV develops them. If you do have symptoms, you may feel as though you have the flu, experience fatigue, sudden nausea or vomiting, abdominal pain by your liver (the upper right side beneath your lower ribs), clay-colored stool, dark urine, intense itching, loss of appetite, a low-grade fever, joint pain, or jaundice.
How does ID Care diagnose Hepatitis A (HAV)?
Diagnosing HAV at ID Care involves highly specialized blood tests. Our team will take a sample of your blood from a vein in your arm to analyze in the lab — where we’re able to identify whether or not the virus is present in your body.
How does ID Care treat Hepatitis A (HAV)?
Although there is no specific treatment for HAV, our team is continually researching new therapies and treatments for a variety of infectious diseases and can recommend many ways to help you feel comfortable and get better. Your body will clear the virus on its own after several weeks, but our team recommends getting plenty of rest, taking actions to manage your nausea (e.g., try snacking throughout the day instead of eating full meals and be sure to drink plenty of fluids), and avoiding alcohol use — mainly because HAV targets your liver.
How can I avoid contracting Hepatitis A (HAV)?
Receiving the HAV vaccine can help prevent your chances of contracting it — and healthy habits can also make a significant difference. Remember to wash your hands thoroughly before preparing food, after using the toilet, or after changing a diaper. If you’re traveling internationally, you should also be careful about drinking tap water.