Hepatitis Awareness Week, July 28 through August 3, is a week dedicated to educating the public about hepatitis, a disease in which an infection or injury inflames the liver.
Some types of hepatitis are acute, or short-term, while others can be chronic, or long-term. Hepatitis can be viral or non-viral, and there are multiple types of hepatitis that differ in severity, transmission routes, and preventative treatment.
During Hepatitis Awareness Week, let your McAllen pharmacy help you learn about viral and non-viral hepatitis, symptoms, and prevention methods.
Viral hepatitis is caused by a virus. Viral hepatitis has five main strains: A, B, C, D, and E. These viral infections are the most common types of hepatitis, with A, B, and C being the most common in the United States.
Hepatitis A and E
Viral hepatitis A and E are spread through contaminated food or water, typically from contact with an infected person’s stool. These two types of viral hepatitis usually require short-term treatment and have a quick recovery.
Hepatitis B, C, and D
Viral hepatitis B, C, and D infections are spread through contact with bodily fluid, such as blood, semen, or vaginal secretions. Sharing needles or having sexual intercourse are the most common modes of transmission for these viruses. A person infected with one of these types of hepatitis will need long-term treatment.
Other types of hepatitis that are not caused by a virus include autoimmune and toxic hepatitis. Autoimmune hepatitis involves an attack on the liver by the immune system; this disease is chronic with no known cause. Toxic hepatitis occurs when someone has been exposed to toxins, such as alcohol or drugs, and can be acute or chronic depending on how much damage has been done to the liver.
Hepatitis Symptoms and Treatment
Symptoms of acute hepatitis begin to appear between two weeks and six months after infection or injury. Meanwhile, chronic hepatitis symptoms may not show for a few years. All types of hepatitis have similar symptoms:
- Loss of appetite
- Stomach pain
- Dark urine
- Clay-colored stool
The treatment for hepatitis depends on the type; those with acute hepatitis may only need rest and fluids for it to go away on its own, while treatment for chronic hepatitis can include surgery and a possible liver transplant.
Goals for Preventing Hepatitis Deaths Around the World
The World Health Organization (WHO) strives to prevent deaths from hepatitis by educating the public. An infected person who knows how their disease is spread can take the appropriate precautions to avoid further infections, while educating against excessive drinking or exposure to other toxins can help prevent non-viral hepatitis. There are also vaccinations for hepatitis A and B available.
Find Help at a Drugstore Near You
Since viral hepatitis can be easily spread through bodily contact, food, or water, it is essential to take precautions to prevent infection, such as practicing safe sex and eating clean food. Limiting alcohol and drug use can also help prevent non-viral hepatitis.
Staying up to date on hepatitis vaccinations is an excellent way to prevent certain types of the disease. Your local Saenz Pharmacy is working to educate the public on the dangers of hepatitis and offer vaccination services.