Hepatitis A is a virus that can infect the liver. In most cases, the infection goes away on its own and doesn't lead to long-term liver problems. In rare cases, it can be more serious.
The virus is found in stool. It spreads when a person eats food or drinks water that has come in contact with infected stool.
After your child is infected, symptoms may not start for up to 30 days. They may be so mild that you don't notice them. But your child can infect other people both before and after symptoms start. Most people who get the virus feel better within 2 months. Most don't have liver problems later. If your child was exposed to the virus in the past 2 weeks, he or she may have been given a shot. It may prevent an infection.
Hepatitis A can cause tiredness, nausea, and diarrhea. Your child's skin and eyes may look yellow. This is called jaundice. Your child may vomit. This can lead to dehydration (severe loss of water). After your child has had the virus, he or she can't get it again. But your child can still get other forms of the virus.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: November 18, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
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