Hepatitis A refers to an acute disease that affects the liver. It is an infectious disease, and the infected individuals can transmit the disease to other people through food, water, or direct contact. Hepatitis A virus, which is an RNA virus, is the microorganism that causes Hepatitis A (Jonas, 2010). Incubation period of Hepatitis A ranges from two to six weeks, but of the infected people experience symptoms after twenty-eight days from the time of infection. Incidences of Hepatitis A virus infection are extremely high in the third world nations, and in regions where people do not observe hygiene and sanitation to required standards. People usually contract this infection during the stage of early childhood (Jonas, 2010). Most of the infected children do not experience and clinical symptoms and signs because Hepatitis A infection possesses lifelong immunity. On the other hand, in the developed countries vulnerable young adults contact Hepatitis A virus infection and not children (Jonas, 2010). This happens because such individuals make trips to other countries whose incidence of Hepatitis A is high. This discussion will consider causes, symptoms, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of Hepatitis A.
Causes of Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A occurs after Hepatitis A virus gets into the blood stream of a susceptible person. A susceptible person acquires the virus when they ingest tiny amounts of fecal matter from an infected person. Hepatitis A virus causes inflammation in the liver, which is the body organ that the virus infects (Jonas, 2010). The inflammation of the liver may impair normal functioning of the liver and lead to other symptoms and signs of Hepatitis A. Therefore, the incidences of Hepatitis A increase when people fail to observe hygiene and sanitation, which increases the chances of ingesting the fecal matter from the infected people. Eating contaminated food and drinking contaminated food increases the chances of infection. An infected person can also transmit Hepatitis A thorough unprotected sexual intercourse with a healthy person (Jonas, 2010).
Symptoms of Hepatitis A
Infected people start to experience symptoms of Hepatitis A after about two weeks from the time of infection. However, the incubation period of Hepatitis A differs from one person to another with others experiencing the symptoms after six weeks and others not experiencing at all. Some of the symptoms and signs include loss of appetite, muscle pain, fatigue, low-grade fever, jaundice, nausea, vomiting, just to mention a few (Jonas, 2010).
Diagnosis of Hepatitis A
Diagnosis of Hepatitis A will ensure that the infected person receives early intervention such as vaccination or medication (Specter, 1999). Doctors ask a number of questions regarding the symptoms, current medication, sexual history, alcohol use, and many other conditions that may share signs with Hepatitis A. A doctor will as well perform a physical examination to look for symptoms and signs (Jonas, 2010). The most appropriate tests that doctor use when they suspect Hepatitis A include the liver enzyme tests. Bilirubin is a substance who level may increase in people suffering from acute hepatitis. Doctors can also test for antibodies, which the immunity system may have created to act against Hepatitis A virus (Specter, 1999).
Prevention and treatment of Hepatitis A
Doctors consider prevention of Hepatitis A to be a better option than cure. Infected people transmit the virus to normal people through contaminating water and food. Unprotected sexual intercourse with an infected person can transmit the virus to healthy people. Therefore, avoidance of the possible sources of Hepatitis A virus can prevent the transmission of the virus. Practices like observing hygiene, vaccination, and safe sex are some of the preventive practices against Hepatitis A (Hauser, 2011). Treatment of Hepatitis A include getting enough rest, consuming enough calories, performing physical exercises regularly, avoiding alcohol, and drinking plenty of fluids.
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