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Protecting your Kids: All about Hepatitis

Hepatitis is one of those diseases about which most people aren’t aware of. Most people with hepatitis miss the signs of disease and will be aware only after the infection has grown massively. Among the infected people, most are children who get infected before they turn one year old. Though, people can get infected with hepatitis irrespective of age; children are at higher risk. So, get an idea about hepatitis and know how you can protect your kids from being infected.

What is Hepatitis?

The word “Hepatitis” refers to an inflammatory state of the liver that can result in damage and destruction of liver cells. Though there are several reasons which can damage the liver and cause hepatitis, a viral infection is the most common cause of it. When compared to adults, children have a weaker immune system; thus increasing their risk of getting infected by the virus.

What are the types of Hepatitis?

There are mainly five types of hepatitis virus: A, B, C, D, and E. The latest research indicated that there is a possible sixth type of virus referred as Hepatitis G. Children are often infected with Hepatitis A, B, or C; while Hepatitis D and E are not so common in kids.

Here is a summary of each type of hepatitis and how parents can protect their kids from getting infected.

An overview of “Hepatitis A”

Hepatitis A is the most common form of hepatitis in children. It is also known as infectious hepatitis. Hepatitis A is usually a short-term disease and has a mild impact in children.

What are the symptoms of hepatitis A?

Most of the infants and young children infected with hepatitis A usually develop mild symptoms or will never develop any symptoms at all. Some of the symptoms include:

→ Nausea
→ Vomiting
→ Abdominal pain
→ Fever
→ Loss of appetite
→ Fatigue
→ Yellow discoloration of skin and white part of the eye.
→ Dark colored urine

How does hepatitis A spread?

Hepatitis A virus is found in the stool of infected people. People can get infected with hepatitis A when they ingest anything that was contaminated with HAV-infected stool. This usually happens in the places with unsanitary living conditions.

Hepatitis A can spread when a person

→ Comes into direct contact with an infected person
→ Consume fruits, vegetables, and other foods that were contaminated during handling
→ Swallows contaminated ice

  • How can hepatitis A be diagnosed?
  • Hepatitis A can be diagnosed with a blood test.
  • How can hepatitis A be treated?

There are no medications to treat hepatitis A. No treatment can cure the disease. It is a transient disease that will resolve on its own over time. It takes several weeks or months to get cured. Regular liver functioning tests are prescribed to make sure the body is healing.

How can hepatitis A be prevented?

The best way to prevent hepatitis A is to get vaccinated. Also, avoiding contact with an infected person can reduce the risk of getting infected with hepatitis A. Following a good Hygienic regime such as washing hands before eating food, consumption of home cooked meals/ clean food outlets is also helpful in preventing contraction of Hepatitis A.

What can parents do to protect their kids from Hepatitis A?

Safety measures which can keep children safe from getting infected with Hepatitis A include:

→ Every member of the family should wash their hands before touching or feeding the child
→ Fruits and vegetables should be washed properly
→ Make sure the child is drinking filtered and purified water
→ Avoid outside food
→ Make sure the food given to kids is well-cooked

  • An overview of “Hepatitis B”
  • An overview of “Hepatitis C”
  • An overview of “Hepatitis D”
  • An overview of “Hepatitis E”

As you have come to know about hepatitis and what can cause different types of it, take all the safety measures possible to protect your kids from getting infected. And most importantly, ensure your kids are getting their vaccinations on time as per the immunization schedule. The only way by which we can protect children from contracting hepatitis is to prevent the possible ways of occurrence and detect early if occurred.

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