The ABCs of hepatitis

Hepatitis simply means that the liver is inflamed. This can be caused by various things. Some substances (like excessive alcohol and certain medications) are toxic to the liver. There are also some infectious causes of hepatitis 안재욱 친구 다운로드.

When a hepatitis virus reaches your liver, it infects their cells and multiplies inside them. The body’s immune system tries to destroy these cells. This attack by white blood cells causes liver-cell damage and inflammation. Chronic viral hepatitis can cause irreversible liver damage.

Types
Hepatitis A, B and C viruses are unrelated to one another, but all target the liver.

Hepatitis A is a short-term but severe infection of the liver. The virus is found in the faeces of an infected person and reaches the liver after infecting the gut. It’s usually contracted from hands soiled after using the toilet, changing a nappy, or swallowing water or food contaminated by human faeces. Uncooked shellfish and raw vegetables tainted by sewage can also be a route of infection, as can sexual contact with an infected person.

Hepatitis B is the most common liver infection in the world. People are often unaware they’ve been infected, but eventually, hepatitis B can lead to cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), liver cancer or liver failure if not diagnosed and managed. Hepatitis B is highly infectious, and mostly spread by close contact with an infected person, via the exchange of tiny quantities of blood from tiny grazes or cuts. This might occur through:

  • Rough play among children.
  • Sharing toothbrushes or razors.
  • Direct contact with blood, e.g. a bleeding wound.
  • Tattooing with unsterile implements.
  • Intravenous drug abusers sharing needles and syringes.
  • Between patients and staff in hospital settings, e.g. haemodialysis units.
  • Potentially by blood transfusion.
  • Hepatitis B can be passed from an infected mother to her baby.

Hepatitis C is spread through blood-to-blood contact, but is far less infectious than hepatitis B. Hepatitis C can also be passed from infected mother to baby.

Symptoms

  • Loss of interest in food, especially fatty food
  • Distaste for cigarettes (if you’re a smoker)
  • Loss of ability to drink alcohol
  • Feeling unwell
  • Muscle aches
  • In the case of Hepatitis B, joint pains and rash can occur
  • Discomfort or pain in the right upper abdomen (where the liver is located)
  • Urine that’s dark reddish-brown
  • Faeces unusually pale in colour
  • A yellowish tinge to the whites of the eyes and skin
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Potentially serious symptoms that need medical attention!

  • Vomitting for longer than six hours
  • Extreme drowsiness, confusion or restlessness
  • Unusual bruising or bleeding
  • Jaundice for longer than three weeks

Treatment
There are limited possibilities for treating chronic hepatitis. People with no liver damage don’t need treatment, but should still be monitored with regular liver function tests. For those with liver damage, a few drug treatments are available. Hepatitis complications might mean medical treatment in hospital. A liver transplant may be necessary to save a person with end-stage liver damage.

Stay safe 

  • Hepatitis A is prevented with good sanitation, clean tap water and basic hygiene, e.g. hand washing after using the toilet or changing a nappy, and before preparing food. (A person with hepatitis A should not prepare food for others.)
  • The hepatitis A virus is in the faeces of an infected person from two weeks before symptoms begin, to about a week afterward. If your child has hepatitis A, notify the school.
  • With hepatitis B or C, which take several months to clear from the blood, you’ll probably be well enough to return to normal activities while still infectious. Normal office or school activities (except for contact sports) do not pose a risk to others. Keep up with follow-up blood tests though.
  • Anti-hepatitis immunoglobulins are antibodies harvested from the donated blood of people immune to the hepatitis virus. This can protect people who’ve been exposed to hepatitis A or B and haven’t been vaccinated in the past. The immunoglobulin, given by injection, can provide “instant immunity”, which lasts approximately six weeks. It must be given soon after exposure.
  • A hepatitis A vaccine is also available. It’s effective in preventing infection in about 95 percent of people. The vaccine is given in two doses and appears to last 10 years. Pregnant women should delay being immunised against hepatitis A until after pregnancy, unless they are at great risk of infection.

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