Hepatitis A is a liver infection. It is caused by the hepatitis A virus. The virus is found in the stool of a person who has the disease. It is spread when people eat food or drink water that has come in contact with the infected stool. This can happen if you eat food prepared by someone who has not washed his or her hands after going to the washroom.
In countries that have poor sewer systems, you can get the virus by drinking the water or eating foods washed in the water.
The disease can also spread in daycare centres. Workers can spread the virus if they don't wash their hands well after changing a diaper. Washing hands and putting dirty diapers in a covered trash can or diaper pail will help prevent the spread of hepatitis A.
You can only get the hepatitis A virus once. After that, your body builds up a defence against it.
Symptoms usually last about 2 months. They go away on their own in almost all cases and do not need treatment. Although hepatitis A is an infection of the liver, the disease doesn't lead to long-term liver problems.
Symptoms may include:
There is no treatment for hepatitis A. You get better on your own. But there are things you can do to help your child feel better:
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.
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Current as of: March 3, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & A. Evan Eyler, MD, MPH - Family Medicine, Psychiatry
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