WANTED: Hepatitis A

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Virus-Hepatovirus

Also Called: Hep A or HAV

Attacks

The virus, Hepatitis A attacks the liver. Your liver plays a very important role in digestion. It processes absorbed substances such as protein, sugar, vitamins and fat so that other parts of the body can use them. Your liver is responsible for getting rid of toxins, processes blood and it makes bile; a liquid that helps absorb the food we eat. So how do you get the virus? The Hep A virus is transmitted through food and water contaminated with feces; or if you have had contact with an infected person. There are three types of Hepatitis, A, B, and C. Hep A is the least serious, it will not become chronic but it can cause liver damage. Most infected people recover fully without treatment.

Victims

You are most at risk if you are at high risk of infection, you live or frequently visit a place where Hep A is common or are involved with drugs. If you work with young children for example at a daycare, you are more likely to encounter this virus. The age group targeted by Hep A would be children under the age of 10 who live in areas with poor sanitation.

Crime

Symptoms include pain in abdomen, joints or muscles. Diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting; fatigue, fever, loss of appetite and weight. It is common to have dark urine, itching or Jaundice.


Jaundice is when your skin and the whites of your eyes turns yellow. It is caused by the obstruction the bile duct, or by a liver disease.


In rare situations the Hepatitis A patient may have liver failure and might need a liver transplant.

Hideout

The Hepatitis A virus can be found in the infected persons stool and blood. It can be given to you through water and food.

Weapons

This infection is totally preventable. You can start by keeping clean hands when dealing with food and making sure you wash your hands after using the bathroom or changing a diaper and of course prior to handling food. Food handlers should also wear gloves, but gloves do NOT replace washing hands. And if you are sick do not deal with food.


Ways to defend yourself from contracting this disease would be sanitation, so keeping clean and living clean, and getting the vaccination.


There are vaccinations recommended for young infants and the following:

- travelers to areas with Hep A

- injecting and non-injecting drug users

-if you have a chronic liver disease

-children living in areas where Hep A is common

- if you are at high risk for infection

- if you are in close contact with someone who has the disease


Once you already have the disease ways to treat it would include:

-avoiding alcohol (it can aggravate it) Rest your liver

-getting sleep (promotes healing)

There is no cure for Hepatitis A, your body will eventually heal itself.