Hepatitis A Vaccine Schedule for Adults
Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver. Hepatitis B and C are also caused by viruses. Autoimmune hepatitis occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the liver as if it was foreign material. Hepatitis A symptoms usually appear between 2 and 7 weeks after exposure. Some people who have hepatitis A show very few symptoms. Signs of hepatitis A include tiredness, fever, loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, headache, itchy skin, muscle soreness, pain near the liver (under the right rib cage), jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes), dark urine, and pale stools.
Fortunately, vaccinations are available for both the A and B viruses that cause hepatitis. The hepatitis A vaccine schedule calls for two injections given six months apart. People who plan to travel to certain countries outside the United States will have to plan ahead to make an appropriate hepatitis A vaccine schedule that takes their travel plans into account. If you are planning a trip abroad, make sure that you start your hepatitis A vaccine schedule about 7 months before you plan to travel. Other people who need to make a hepatitis A vaccine schedule include health-care workers, laboratory workers, men who have sex with men, illicit drug users, people with chronic liver disease, and food handlers. If you are planning to work in higher risk jobs or engage in risky behavior, make sure you have your hepatitis A vaccine schedule in place early enough. Hepatitis a vaccine side effects are minimal. A few people will experience an allergic reaction. These people should consult with their doctor about taking the second injection. Soreness at the injection site is common with any injection.
The hepatitis B vaccine schedule is quite different. The schedule calls for three vaccinations. A first shot is given and a second shot should be given 4 weeks after the first injection. A third injection is recommended 8 weeks after the second. In order to be fully protected, it is very important to follow the entire vaccination schedule.