What You Need to Know About Hepatitis A
Due to the recent outbreak of Hepatitis A in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia, you may have questions about Heptatis A – What is it? How is it transmitted?
Over 400 cases have now occurred in Kentucky with West Virginia and Ohio’s confirmed number of cases increasing. Hepatitis A tends to occur in outbreaks. Read more to learn how you can protect yourself from getting and spreading Hepatitis A.
What is hepatitis?
The word hepatitis simply means inflammation of the liver. Function of the liver can be affected if the liver is inflamed or damaged.
What does the liver do for us? The liver is an organ that process nutrients, filters blood, and fights infections.
Heavy alcohol use, toxins, medications, and certain medical conditions can cause hepatitis. The most common cause of hepatitis is a virus.
Hepatitis A, B, and C?
There are 3 different known hepatitis viruses: A, B, or C. Each virus is transmitted differently.
Hepatitis A is a short-term infection and does not become chronic.
Hepatitis B & C can begin as short-term infections, but the virus remains in the body, causing chronic disease and long-term liver problems.
How is hepatitis A transferred?
Hepatitis A is usually spread unknowingly when a person ingests the virus from objects, food, or drinks contaminated by small, undetected fecal matter from an infected person.
Personal contact with an infected person can also spread the virus.
Symptoms of hepatitis A?
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal Pain
- Dark Urine
- Clay-colored stools
- Joint pain
When do symptoms appear?
If symptoms occur, they usually occur between 2-7 weeks of exposure.
Symptoms will develop over a period of several days.
Symptoms typically last for 2 months, some people have had symptoms for as long as 6 months.
People can spread hepatitis A up to 2 weeks before symptoms appear.
Some people never exhibit any symptoms and continue to spread the virus to others.
Who is at risk for hepatitis A?
People with direct contact with someone who has hepatitis A.
People travelling to countries where hepatitis A is common.
Men who have sexual contact with men.
People who use drugs, both injection and non-injection drugs.
Household members or caregivers of recent adoptees from countries where hepatitis A is common.
People with clotting factor disorders, such as hemophilia.
How do you prevent hepatitis A?
Hepatitis A can be prevented. One of the best ways to prevent hepatitis A is by getting vaccinated. Typically, the hepatitis A vaccine is a series of 2 shots, given 6 months apart. The vaccine is long-term protection, it is not known for how long the protection lasts. Most persons and experts have stated that the vaccine will protect for at least 10 years with other persons and experts reporting protection has lasted up to 20 years or more.
Other ways to prevent hepatitis A is by good hand hygiene – thoroughly wash hands after using the restroom, changing diapers, and before preparing or eating food.
What does vaccination cost?
Most insurances will cover the hepatitis A vaccine.
Cash price for adult vaccination is: $90.69. For children $38.19.
Fruth Pharmacy can vaccinate adults in West Virginia and Kentucky ages 19 years and up. In Ohio, Fruth Pharmacy can vaccinate adults and children ages 7 and older. Children ages 7 – 12 need a prescription from a doctor or nurse practitioner. Children ages 13 and older will need parental consent.