10 Typical Symptoms Of Hepatitis A Infection

Several viruses are very contagious, and one of them is Hepatitis A. Hepatitis A is just one of the viruses that cause inflammation of the liver. However, unlike Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C, it is not as dangerous. People frequently contract Hepatitis A after being exposed to contaminated water or food or coming into close contact with an individual who is infected with the virus.

The best way to avoid infection from Hepatitis A is to wash hands frequently and practice good food hygiene. Today, there are vaccines available against Hepatitis A for individuals who are at high risk.

What are symptoms of Hepatitis A?

Once Hepatitis A is acquired, the symptoms do not appear immediately. Most individuals develop symptoms after 2–3 weeks. The symptoms may include the following:

Symptom #1 — Fatigue

Fatigue may vary from mild to moderate and is often worse during the day. Most people have little desire to perform any physical activity because of the constant fatigue.

Symptom #2 — Nausea and vomiting

Nausea and vomiting may occur after a meal but is not severe. Most people develop a sensation of nausea when trying to eat.

Symptom #3 — Pain or discomfort

Generalized vague pain or discomfort just underneath the right ribs is common and is often the fundamental feature of the infection. The pain is constant and varies in intensity from mild to moderate. Sometimes just pushing on the right side of the upper abdomen may elicit pain.

Symptom #4 — Clay or pale colored stools

Some people with moderate to severe Hepatitis A infection will develop clay or pale colored stools. This development is because of alteration in the functioning of the liver.

Symptom #5 — Loss of appetite

Loss of appetite is a common symptom in most people with Hepatitis A infection. Even the sight of food may bring waves of nausea. Mild weight loss may occur over a period of 2–4 weeks. People affected usually regain back this weight once the infection subsides.

Symptom #6 — Low fever

A low-grade fever is a typical presentation after Hepatitis A infection. The slightly higher temperature is continuous and often associated with general malaise. The fever does subside with Tylenol.

Symptom #7 — Discoloration of urine

In individuals with moderate to severe Hepatitis A infection, the urine often becomes dark or appears black. This discoloration is a sign of liver dysfunction.

Symptom #8 — Mild joint pain

Some people with Hepatitis A infection will also develop vague joint pain. The pain is limited to the larger joints of the spine, hips, knees, and shoulder. The pain is mild to moderate and may require non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents.

Symptom #9 — Discoloration of skin and eyes

If Hepatitis A infection is severe, it may also present with yellow skin and eyes. The yellow discoloration, known as jaundice, is most common in the eyes.

Symptom #10 — Itching sensation

Itching is also a common feature of Hepatitis A infection. The itching is chiefly due to the accumulation of byproducts (Bilirubin) in the skin. The liver usually breaks down these byproducts, but if this function of the liver is compromised, the skin starts to accumulate these pigments which then can cause itching.

It is important to note that not everyone with Hepatitis A infection will develop symptoms. At least 20–40% of individuals will not have any symptoms and may not even know they have acquired the virus.

Do the Hepatitis A symptoms appear immediately?

Once Hepatitis A is acquired, the symptoms start to appear after 2–3 weeks. In some cases, the infection will last several weeks, but in other severe cases, the infection may last several months.

In general, individuals with symptoms of Hepatitis A may need to see their healthcare provider to make sure that no permanent damage to the liver is occurring.

How is Hepatitis A diagnosed?

Hepatitis A can be diagnosed through a blood test. Today, there are sensitive tests that can rapidly identify specific antibodies within 24 hours. There is no need for x-rays or other fancy tests.

The original post published on STDTestMD Blog