What is hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A (HAV) is a highly contagious liver disease caused by type A of the hepatitis virus. This type of hepatitis is one of many hepatitis viruses that cause inflammation of your liver and affect its functionality.

How can I get hepatitis A?

HAV can be transmitted by consuming contaminated food or water, either from poor hygiene or sharing food and water with the infected person. This can be avoided by practicing good hygiene like washing hands regularly and not sharing the same utensils with others. HAV is not very common nowadays, as there’s a vaccine available for it.

What are the symptoms?

HAV symptoms generally don’t appear until you’ve had it for a few weeks, but not everybody will get the symptoms. If you do, the symptoms will include,

  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal pain, especially at the liver area (upper right side slightly beneath your lower ribs)
  • Jaundice
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Sudden nausea and vomiting

These symptoms may range from mild to severe; if it’s mild, it’ll go away in a few weeks, if severe, it may result in an illness that lasts for several months.

What should I do about hepatitis A?

Getting an HAV vaccine is the best way to prevent HAV infection. If interested, you can contact your local healthcare providers about this vaccine.

What is hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B (HBV) is another type of hepatitis virus that damages your liver. For some people, HBV may develop into a chronic infection that lasts more than six months, increasing the risk of getting liver failure, liver cancer, or cirrhosis (permanent scars at the liver)

This type of hepatitis, unlike type A, can transmit by blood, semen, and other body fluids, but not by sneezing or coughing.

What are the symptoms of hepatitis B?

Symptoms of HBV can range from mild to severe and usually appear from one to four months after you’re infected. But there’re reports of people getting symptoms as early as two weeks after the infection. All types of hepatitis will target your liver, making the symptoms similar for almost every type, these symptoms will include,

  • Abdominal pain at the liver area
  • Mild to severe fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness/fatigue
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Nausea/vomiting

If you suspect that you may have been exposed to HBV, you should contact your doctor immediately. The faster you get your treatment, the easier it’ll be to cure it.

How is hepatitis B spread?

Since HBV can be found in blood, semen, or vaginal secretions, the main reason for HBV transmission is through unprotected sex. The other reason is needle sharing; through this means, HBV can directly get into your body from the contaminated syringes or needles.

How do I prevent getting hepatitis B?

There’re vaccines available for HBV as well. It’s typically administered in three shots over six months. Most people will usually get this vaccine since they were an infant if they had completed the vaccination course. If you’re uncertain whether you’re already immune to HBV or not, there’s a test to find your antibody of HBV available for you. If the antibody test is positive, it means that you’re safe from HBV.

Another means to prevent HBV is to know the HBV status of your partner. Don’t engage in any unprotected sex unless you’re certain that your partner isn’t infected. If anything, you can recommend your partner to get HBV vaccines as well, if they haven’t already.

The last and well-known method to prevent STDs is using a condom. HBV is one of many STDs that came with unprotected sex, so the condom is your friend. But keep in mind that condoms can only reduce the risk of getting STDs, they can’t eliminate it.

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