What is Hepatitis A?
What is Hepatitis A? Hepatitis A is a disease caused by type A hepatitis virus and attacks human liver cells. Every year in Southeast Asia, hepatitis A cases affect about 400,000 people per year with mortality rates up to 800 people. Most people with hepatitis A are children.
Early symptoms that may arise include fever, nausea, vomiting, joint and muscle pain, and diarrhea. When the liver is already attacked, there are some other symptoms that will appear, namely dark urine, pale stools, jaundice and itching. In addition, the upper right abdominal area will also be painful especially if pressed.
But not all people have symptoms of hepatitis A. Therefore, the disease is sometimes difficult to realize. Only one in ten people with hepatitis A under 6 years old suffer from jaundice. While in adolescents and adults, this disease usually causes more severe symptoms and 70 percent of them will experience jaundice.
Unlike the other two types of hepatitis namely hepatitis B and hepatitis C, infection caused by hepatitis A does not cause long-term liver disorders (chronic), and rarely fatal. However, hepatitis A can lead to the emergence of symptoms of acute liver damage, which is quite dangerous and potentially life-threatening.
Cause and Transmission of Hepatitis A
The cause of this disease is the hepatitis A virus that can spread very easily. The main way of transmission is through food or drink that has been contaminated by stools of hepatitis A. Some risk factors that can increase the spread of this virus include:
- Poor sanitation.
- Contact directly with the person.
- Share a syringe.
- Having sex with people, especially anal sex.
- Men who have sex with men.
- Work in areas related to dirt, eg sewers.
Treatment of Hepatitis A
This disease does not have special handling measures because the immune system will eliminate the virus by itself.
However, your doctor may prescribe medications to relieve the symptoms experienced by the person. Treatment involves taking itchy medication, sickness, nausea and vomiting according to dose. Liver organs also need to be allowed to rest for example by not consuming liquor and be careful with drugs that can affect the liver.
The time it takes the person to fully recover from the disease is usually a few months. Persons who successfully recover completely will have immunity against this disease.
Risk of Hepatitis A Complications
Hepatitis A infection generally does not cause long-term (chronic) liver disease and is rarely fatal. However, this disease has the potential to cause liver failure, especially in those who have had liver disease prior to hepatitis A infection and elderly patients. In addition, in some patients with this infection can relapse or back again.
Ways to Prevent Hepatitis A
Because the main spreading is through the consumption of contaminated things, the main step of prevention of hepatitis A is to maintain cleanliness. This step can be done easily, such as always washing hands, avoid consumption of raw or undercooked foods and avoid consumption of raw water that is not guaranteed cleanliness.
In addition, hepatitis A vaccination can also prevent this disease. Especially for those who have a high risk such as people who suffer from chronic liver disease, as well as users of unsterile needle syringes.