Infectious hepatitis: signs, symptoms, treatment, precautions and prevention

Infectious hepatitis: signs, symptoms, treatment, precautions and prevention

Infectious hepatitis:  signs, symptoms, treatment, precautions and prevention

Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver cells and damage to the organ. You have different causes and types of Hepatitis, but their symptoms are more or less similar. The liver works to detoxify the blood, store vitamins and excrete hormones. Hepatitis obstructs these functions and creates chronic health issues all over the body. There are 5 viruses which can hepatitis. The most common ones are A, B and C. Often hepatitis can result from an autoimmune condition or overconsumption of alcohol.

Symptoms

A lot of people may experience hepatitis with no or mild symptoms. Often symptoms appear from 15 to 180 days of infection. This includes all types of hepatitis.

Acute hepatitis: It is the initial phase and the symptoms include diarhea, fatigue, mild fever, loss of appetite, vomiting, pain in joints, nausea, jaundice and weight loss. This acute phase isn’t very severe but in some cases may cause liver failure and eventually death. Or it may progress to chronic infection.

As the disease remains unattended, it moves to chronic hepatitis which causes swelling of lower extremities, blood in faeces and jaundice. Some other symptoms include dark urine, itchy skin, yellow skin, tongue and eyes.

Diagnosis

As the symptoms of all hepatitis are same, the type and severity of the disease is only diagnosed via lab tests. A doctor performs a physical observation and demands medical history to evaluate when was the patient exposed to a cause of hepatitis. If a patient has gone abroad, they may suffer from HAV. If they have had unprotected sex, they may suffer from HBV. Hepatitis can be confirmed by:

Blood test: Live function is assessed to check the liver protein and enzymes level.

Nucleic acid test: For hepatitis B and C, a test is done confirm the speed at which the virus is growing.

A liver biopsy: It measures the liver damage extent and possibility of other diseases.

Elastography: It measures the stiffness of the liver by producing sound waves.

Treatment

Treatment depends on the diagnosis. But, the common treatment measures are:

  1.        Bed rest, no consumption of alcohol and taking medication on time to get rid of the symptoms. A lot of people suffering from Hepatitis A and E easily recover on their own after some weeks.
  2.        Hepatitis B is treated with medications like Lamivudine and Hepatitis C is treated with the combo of ribovarin and peginterferon.
  3.        If there is a liver failure because of Hepatitis B and C, then liver transplant is recommended,

Some other supportive therapy which add comfort and lower complications are:

  1.        Consuming fluids and nutrition
  2.        Rest more and more
  3.        Taking over the counter pain medications.

If the patient is experiencing vomiting and nausea, then IV fluids should be given. Complications are rare and people usually recover.

Precautionary treatment

If a person hasn’t been vaccinated, he may suffer from HAV. He should get vaccination or immune globulin within 2 weeks. You should avoid getting close to a person with HAV. The treatment depends on the health status and age of the patient.

Prevention

  1.        Wash your hands after using bathroom, before and after eating food.
  2.        Use condoms to avoid getting infection
  3.        Do not use tap water when traveling outside.
  4.        Do not share needles
  5.        Do not share your personal stuff like nail clipper, razor or brush with an infected person.

Outlook

Different hepatitis types have different recovery chances

Hepatitis A: It gets resolved in 2 months without any long term impact. A person with HAV will remain immune to the disease all his life.

Hepatitis B: A lot of adults suffering from HBV virus recovers in 3 months and get lifelong immunity. But in cases, 90% of infants, 20% of older kids and 5% of adults develop chronic infection and cause severe health issues like cirrhosis and liver cancer.

Hepatitis C: It becomes a lifelong infection for 80 to 85% people infected with HCV virus. The disease is fatal in most cases. The infection can now be treated and cured for a lifetime. Around 25% patients come out HCV clear with apt treatment.

The disease is fatal in very cases and if left unattended.