Acute viral hepatitis is one of the most prevalent infectious illnesses, with Hepatitis A being the most common worldwide. Hepatitis refers to liver inflammation induced by exposure to pollutants, alcohol abuse, autoimmune illnesses, or infection. Typically, Hepatitis A is acquired by consuming food or beverage contaminated with feces containing the virus. Once transmitted, the virus travels by circulating in the liver, causing inflammation and swelling. The virus can also be transmitted by intimate physical contact with an infected individual.
Inadequate sanitation, lack of drinkable water, and living with an infected person are risk factors for contracting the Hepatitis A virus. The virus can cause mild to severe fever, malaise, loss of appetite, diarrhea, nausea, stomach discomfort, jaundice, and black urine. Not all infected individuals will exhibit all symptoms. Although no cure has been discovered, this condition often does not require treatment, and a great majority of patients recover completely after six months. However, it is still essential to take care of oneself because the symptoms might not go away in an instant. The following actions serve as a guide to dealing with the virus and ensuring personal and public safety.
Hepatitis A is highly contagious, and patients may suffer several symptoms once infected. Since Hepatitis A has no cure, vaccination is the best solution to prevent the disease. Hepatitis A vaccine must be administered within two weeks of exposure. Vaccination is one of the first lines of defense against diseases. Vaccines are weakened, dead, or inactivated forms of the virus or bacterium. They work by stimulating the body to produce antibodies by acting as a “stand-in” for the disease-causing virus or bacterium. Once an individual has been exposed, these antibodies will begin to function as a protective barrier.
There are two vaccines available for Hepatitis A in the US, HAVRIX® (manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline) and VAQTA® (manufactured by Merck & Co., Inc), wherein both are single antigen vaccines. However, a combination vaccine is also available as TWINRIX® (manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline), a combined vaccine for Hepatitis A and B. Though vaccination imposes a particular fear for some, vaccines for Hepatitis A are entirely safe. Children as young as 12 months are allowed to be vaccinated. Additionally, immunocompromised individuals (people with HIV) can receive the vaccine. There is no denying that vaccination is the ultimate shield to avoid contracting Hepatitis A.