Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis is most often caused by one of three viruses known as A, B, and C. All of these viruses are contagious. When a person’s own immune system mistakes the liver for foreign matter and attacks the liver, the person has autoimmune hepatitis. Most people infected with hepatitis B or C have very few signs of hepatitis. Hepatitis A has a rapid onset and the symptoms are usually severe. These are the top 10 signs of hepatitis:
1. Tiredness or low energy level
3. Loss of appetite
4. Nausea, diarrhea, vomiting
6. Itchy skin
7. Muscle soreness
8. Pain near the liver (under the right side of the rib cage)
9. Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)
10. Pale stools and dark urine
Cloudy urine symptoms are also among the signs of hepatitis. Nausea and digestive tract disturbances are one of the more troublesome hepatitis symptoms in men.
Vaccinations are available to help protect you against hepatitis A and B. The hepatitis A vaccine schedule recommends one vaccination which provides protection for about four weeks, a second injection at the four week mark, and a third injection 8 weeks later. Protection can then last as long as 20 years. The hepatitis B vaccine schedule recommends that all newborns be vaccinated within the first 12 hours after birth, at 1-2 months of age and a third at 6 months. For adults, the vaccination lasts upwards of 15 years. Booster shots are not recommended.
A person who shows no signs of hepatitis can still spread the disease to others. Hepatitis A is transmitted from feces to mouth through contaminated food or water and poor hand washing Hepatitis is transmitted via bodily fluids through blood transfusions contaminated needles, and sexual contact. While many cases of hepatitis resolve on their own, if you have signs of hepatitis you should see your doctor. Hepatitis has the potential to become a chronic condition.