Hep A Essay, Research Paper
Infectious hepatitis is a contagious liver disease, which is sometimes fatal. Infectious hepatitis is more commonly known as hepatitis A because of the virus that causes it. This disease infects around 143,000 people in the United States per year.
Hepatitis A is found in the feces of an infected person. The virus is spread through person to person contact or through contaminated water and food. Infectious hepatitis has many symptoms that are not always detectable. The main symptoms are fever, chills, and all over weakness. Since these symptoms can generalize other things such as the flu, doctors look for others such as light colored stools, dark colored urine, nausea, and a jaundice color in the eyes and skin. Hepatitis A is not a chronic disease, but can take up to six months for an adult to fully recover. Around 15 % of patients require hospitalization from this disease.
Adolescents and adults are usually the most likely to contract Hepatitis A. Military personal, people living in underdeveloped areas, day care workers, promiscuous individuals, and hemophiliacs who receive therapeutic blood products are at an increased risk of contracting and spreading the disease.
There is no specific medicine that can treat hepatitis A. To prevent or decrease the spread of hepatitis A all that has to be done is have proper personal hygiene. Washing your hands properly with soap and water after using the bathroom or changing a diaper and before eating or preparing food can also reduce the spread of the disease.
Vaccinations are immune globulin or hepatitis A vaccine. Immune globulin provides short-term protection. Immune globulin contains protective proteins or antibodies to the virus. The hepatitis A vaccine provides a longer protection. The hepatitis A vaccine contains a killed virus that stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies to fight the virus. Vaccinations for hepatitis A are safe but may cause swelling, warmth, or irritation around the injected area. “Fever, abdominal pain, headache, fatigue, and allergic reactions may also occur.” (Dr.Koop.com) Being vaccinated against hepatitis A is a measure that should be taken in order to reduce the risk of contracting the disease while travelling to areas where hepatitis A is common.