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Vaccine, cleanliness can prevent Hepatitis A

September 20, 2017

With the mention of Hepatitis A in the news recently, it’s a good time to learn about this serious virus and the best ways to avoid it.

Hepatitis A, or inflammation of the liver, is a hardy virus that spreads through contamination and poor toilet hygiene. While the virus is not usually fatal; it can cause serious illness.

Symptoms can include fever, fatigue, loss of appetite and nausea, grey-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the whites of the eyes or skin), joint pain and dark urine.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), not everyone experiences symptoms. But if symptoms do develop, they will usually appear 2 to 6 weeks after becoming infected.

Fortunately, most casual contact is not sufficient to spread the disease and only repeated close contact is likely to do so.

Hand-washing, good personal hygiene and maintaining clean and sanitary surroundings go a long way to preventing the virus, but the primary means of prevention is hepatitis A vaccination.

The vaccine is recommended for all children at the age of 1, but adults can also benefit from a standard series of the vaccine that provides long-term protection against the virus.

If you have symptoms and are concerned that you might have hepatitis A, it is important to contact your health care provider for evaluation.

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