Viral hepatitis, including hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C, are a group of distinct diseases that affect the liver. Each have different hepatitis symptoms and treatments. Some causes of hepatitis include recreational drugs and prescription medications. Laboratory tests can determine hepatitis types.
It’s possible you might have hepatitis and not realize it at first. Sometimes there aren’t any symptoms. Or you might not get the right diagnosis because the disease shares some of the same signs as the flu.
The most common symptoms of hepatitis are things like:
Loss of appetite
Muscle or joint aches
Nausea and vomiting
Pain in your belly
Some people have other issues, such as:
Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)
Mental changes, such as stupor (being in a daze) or coma
Bleeding inside your body
When to See Your Doctor
Always check with your doctor if you have any of the signs of hepatitis. If you don’t get treatment it can lead to cirrhosis, a serious scarring of your liver. Also make an appointment if a friend or member of your family comes down with the disease. There’s a risk you could get infected, too.
Be on the lookout for symptoms of hepatitis if you travel to a country where the disease is common. Call your doctor if you think you’re showing any signs.
Hepatitis A: How Does It Spread?
It usually spreads through food or water. Food can be tainted when it’s touched by a person with hepatitis who did not wash his hands after using the bathroom. This transfers tiny amounts of infected stool to the food. Raw shellfish, fruits, vegetables, and undercooked foods are common culprits in hepatitis A outbreaks. The virus can also spread in daycare centers if employees aren’t careful about washing hands after changing diapers.
Hepatitis B: How Does It Spread?
You can get it through contact with the blood or body fluids of an infected person. It’s most often spread through unprotected sex. It’s also possible to get hepatitis B by sharing an infected person’s needles, razors, or toothbrush. And an infected mother can pass the virus to her baby during childbirth. Hepatitis B is not spread by hugging, sharing food, or coughing.
Hepatitis C: How Does It Spread?
It spreads through infected blood. Sharing needles or other items used to inject drugs is the most common cause of infection. Getting a tattoo or body piercing with an infected needle is another means of exposure. A mother may pass the virus to her child at birth. In rare cases, unprotected sex spreads hepatitis C, but the risk appears small. Having multiple sex partners, HIV, or rough sex seems to raise risk for spreading hepatitis C.Leave a reply →