What is Hepatitis A – Hepatitis B – Hepatitis C:
Hepatitis A – An inflammatory viral disease of the liver with a short incubation period. Hepatitis A may be transmitted by eating contaminated food, by fecal-oral contact, and/or through household contact. Hepatitis A may be mild to severe; symptoms include fever, nausea, and jaundice.
Hepatitis B – Formerly called serum hepatitis, it is caused by the hepatitis B virus. About 12% of cases progress to chronic hepatitis. It is spread through shared needles, through sexual contact with infected individuals, through exposure to infected body fluids, and from mother to child. Common symptoms include abdominal pain, fatigue, fever, jaundice, and elevated liver enzymes.
Hepatitis C – is a life-threatening, disease of the liver, which is transmitted by exposure to blood. A particularly dangerous form of viral hepatitis, it is caused by an RNA virus. Hepatitis C can lead to serious, permanent liver damage, and in many cases, death. More than 82 percent of those who are infected will progress to chronic liver disease. It is suspected that there are, at present, more than 4.5 million people in the United States that are infected with hepatitis C, and more than 200 million around the world.
What causes Hepatitis A – Hepatitis B – Hepatitis C:
Hepatitis A – is caused by a virus. The virus that causes hepatitis A is called the hepatitis A virus. Hepatitis A is spread by close personal contact with someone else who has the infection. You can also get hepatitis A by: Eating food that has been prepared by someone with hepatitis A, or by drinking water that has been contaminated by hepatitis A.
Hepatitis B – is easily spread by direct contact with the blood or body fluids of an infected person. For example, hepatitis B can be transmitted from an infected mother to her baby at birth, through unprotected sex with an infected person, by sharing needles for injecting street drugs, and by occupational contact with blood in a health-care setting. Hepatitis B is not spread through food or water or by casual contact. People can have hepatitis B and spread the disease without knowing it. Sometimes, people who are infected with hepatitis B virus never recover fully from the infection. They carry the virus and can infect others for the rest of their lives.
Hepatitis C – is one of the viruses that causes hepatitis, or inflammation of the liver. It is spread predominantly by contact with infected blood and much less from other body fluids. Risk factors for having Hepatitis C include those who have used shared needles, and those that have received a blood transfusion prior to 1991, and those who have been tattooed.
Hepatitis A – Hepatitis B – Hepatitis C – Symptoms:
Hepatitis A – A lot of people with Hepatitis A show no symptoms at all, or they go unnoticed because the symptoms are so mild. Older people are more likely to have symptoms than children. People who do not have symptoms can still spread the Hepatitis A virus. Symptoms of hepatitis A usually develop between 2 and 7 weeks after infection. The most common symptoms to appear are the following: Nausea or vomiting, Diarrhea, Fever, Rash, Fatigue, Jaundice, Dark Urine.
Hepatitis B – Like Hepatitis A, some people show no symptoms when they are infected with hepatitis B, or the symptoms may be very mild and flu-like. Any symptoms that can appear may include: Jaundice, Fever and tiredness, Diarrhea, Stomach pains, nausea and vomiting.
Hepatitis C – Again like with Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B, folks with Hepatitis C may show no symptoms either, but when they do, they will probably include any of the following: Mild fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Later symptoms may include dark coffee-colored rather than dark yellow urine, clay-colored stools, abdominal pain, and jaundice.
Hepatitis A – Hepatitis B – Hepatitis C – Treatment:
Hepatitis A – There is no specific treatment for Hepatitis A. Rest is recommended during the worse phase of the disease when the symptoms are most severe. People with acute hepatitis should avoid alcohol and any substances that are toxic to the liver, including acetominophen. Fatty foods may cause vomiting because secretions from the liver are needed to digest fats. Fatty foods are best avoided during the acute phase.
Hepatitis B – Acute hepatitis B usually goes away by itself and does not require medical treatment. If very severe, symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea may require treatment to restore fluids and electrolytes. There are no medications that can prevent acute hepatitis B from becoming chronic.
Hepatitis C – Initial treatment of Hepatitis C will depend on whether the infection is in an early stage or whether it has progressed. Treatment of short-term (acute) hepatitis: Acute Hepatitis C may not be treated because symptoms are usually mild or absent, and hepatitis C is therefore often not diagnosed. By the time Hepatitis C is detected in most people, it has already progressed to long-term infection. However, when acute hepatitis C is identified and treated with medications, the development of progressive or chronic infection may be prevented.
Hepatitis A – Hepatitis B – Hepatitis C – Prevention:
Hepatitis A – Transmission of the virus can be reduced by avoiding unclean food and water, thorough hand washing after using the restroom, and thorough cleansing if there is any contact with an affected person’s blood, feces, or any other bodily fluid. Daycare facilities and other institutions involving close contact with people may be more susceptible to rapid transmission of Hepatitis A. Thorough hand washing and good hygenic practices before and after each diaper change, before serving food, and after using the restroom can help prevent institutional outbreaks.
Hepatitis B – Screening of all donated blood has reduced the likelihood of contracting hepatitis B from a blood transfusion. As an initial screen, blood donors are now required to fill out a questionnaire about their sexual and drug use activities. The blood of those who are in high-risk groups is not used. Also, serologic tests are used to screen collected blood for the hepatitis B virus. Mandatory reporting of the disease allows state health care workers to track people who have been exposed and to immunize contacts that have not yet developed the disease. Formerly, hepatitis B vaccine was made from human blood products, so it was not received well by the public. Sexual contact with a person who has acute or chronic hepatitis B should be avoided.
Hepatitis C – Is spread primarily by direct contact with human blood. Transmission through blood transfusions that are not screened for HCV infection, through the reuse of inadequately sterilized needles, syringes or other medical equipment, or through needle-sharing among drug-users, is well documented. Sexual and perinatal transmission may also occur, although less frequently. Other modes of transmission such as social, cultural, and behavioural practices such as body piercing and tattooing, can occur if inadequately sterilized equipment is used. High risk groups include injecting drug users, recipients of unscreened blood, haemophiliacs, dialysis patients and persons with multiple sex partners.
There is a website that provides cures, facts and great information on Hepatitis A – Hepatitis B – Hepatitis C and numerous other medical conditions, the website is called: All About Health, and can be found at this url:
By Robert W. Benjamin
Copyright © 2007
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