Your Doctor

What You Need to Know About Hepatitis

Hepatitis The Facts

1. Hepatitis is an inflammation to the liver and there are many different forms of hepatitis: A, B, C, D, E as well as alcoholic and autoimmune hepatitis. Hepatitis can often be treated but hepatitis B and C can cause long term problems and, in some cases, can be fatal. 

2. Long-lasting hepatitis can cause scarring of the liver (cirrhosis), loss of liver function and, in some cases, liver cancer.

3. Hepatitis is commonly caused by a viral infection, but there are other possible causes that occur as a secondary result of medications, drugs, toxins, and alcohol.

4. Symptoms of hepatitis many include flu-like symptoms such as fever, fatigue, vomiting, muscle, stomach and/ or joint pain, loss of appetite, dark urine, pale-coloured, itchy skin and yellowing of the skin and eyes known as jaundice. 

5. Avoid getting hepatitis A by washing your hand thoroughly after going to the toilet. It is often caused by contamination of food or water by poor sanitation stools. Avoid unclean food and water and eating undercooked or raw shellfish, salads and uncooked foods in countries with poor hygiene. 

6. Hepatitis B and C are the most common forms and are both spread by blood-to-blood contact with an infected person.

7. Other ways to get hepatitis include having unprotected sex with someone who has hepatitis or reused hypodermic needles such as for drugs, or in a piercing or tattoo parlour. 

8. Many people don’t experience symptoms when they have hepatitis B and C in fact approximately 15-30% of people manage to clear the virus without treatment. 

9. Safe, effective vaccines are available for hepatitis A and B, though not yet for hepatitis C. Get vaccinated especially if you are going abroad to a country where hepatitis is a major problem. 

IF YOU OR A LOVED ONE HAS HEPATITIS

10. If you have been in contact with people who have hepatitis it is best to go to the doctors to get a blood test which will show if you have it or not. If you have hepatitis never share personal items such as toothbrushes or razors, and if you get a cut clean it and cover it as soon as possible. 

11. When you have hepatitis drinking alcohol can cause more damage as the liver is inflamed and it is less capable of detoxifying the alcohol in your body. Stop drinking alcohol and drink plenty of water. 

12. If you have hepatitis having a healthy diet is crucial. Eating healthily will give you more energy for the day and give you the nutrients you need to help fight the infection.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact us.