Hepatitis A: What to Know

The United States has recently seen an increase in hepatitis A infection. Hepatitis is a viral infection that is only known to affect humans. Typically, the virus is transmitted via the fecal-oral route from person to person or from contaminated food or water. Usually, this is a self-limited process and does not develop into chronic disease.

Most adults infected with hepatitis A will develop symptoms. However, symptoms are uncommon in children younger than 6. Symptoms can include fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, and joint pain. You may also experience darker urine and clay-colored stools.

Treating hepatitis A usually involves rest, good nutrition, and drinking plenty of fluids, however, sometimes hepatitis A will lead to extended hospitalizations. Hepatitis A can be prevented via vaccination. You can also prevent getting hepatitis A through good hygiene practices like washing your hands whenever you handle food, use the restroom, or handle waste like when changing a diaper.

If you believe you may be suffering from hepatitis A, it is important for you to see your doctor as symptoms can last for months at a time if left untreated.