What You Need to Know About Hepatitis

What You Need to Know About Hepatitis

BY SANDRA GUY

Viruses occupy our daily thoughts now that COVID variants and monkeypox continue to spread.

But other viruses require our attention, too, and the World Hepatitis Alliance has designated July 28 as World Hepatitis Day to highlight the five main hepatitis viruses and how to guard against infection.

Hepatitis is a liver inflammation, usually caused by a viral infection. The types are called A, B, C, D, E and G.

The seriousness of each type varies. Hepatitis A causes people to be sick for a few weeks to a few months, but most people recover. The consequences of Hepatitis B and C are more serious. The D, E and G types are uncommon in the United States.

The CDC recommends that children between 12 months and 23 months old get a Hepatitis A vaccine, as well as any infant from six months to 11 months old who is traveling internationally.  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges everyone from birth to age 60 to get the Hepatitis B vaccination.

A new concern now includes the number of American children affected by acute hepatitis for no known cause, the CDC says. That’s why the CDC encourages parents and caregivers to be aware of the symptoms of hepatitis — particularly jaundice, a yellowing of the skin or eyes — and to contact their child’s health care provider with any concern.

Many people with hepatitis have no symptoms. If symptoms occur with an acute infection, they can appear anytime from two weeks to six months after exposure. But symptoms of chronic viral hepatitis can take decades to develop. Symptoms of hepatitis can include: fever, fatigue, nausea, jaundice, joint pain, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, dark urine and light-colored stools.

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