Hepatitis A is a viral infection that affects the liver and is usually spread by contaminated food and water. An estimated 2,800 people in the United States. Although not usually life-threatening, the hepatitis A virus can make you feel sick for weeks or even months. Here now are the hepatitis A symptoms to watch for, and the what you need to know about hepatitis A treatment.
What is Hepatitis A
The hepatitis A virus causes hepatitis A, which is a liver disease. Hepatitis B and C are more severe than hepatitis A, because hepatitis A is rarely fatal. However, an infection of the virus can cause debilitating symptoms and even acute liver failure.
The hepatitis A virus is a major cause of food-related infection and illness. The virus can spread quickly and cause an epidemic once it contaminates food or water. In 1998, a hepatitis A outbreak in Shanghai, China led to over 300,000 people contracting hepatitis A. The outbreak happened after people ate raw clams contaminated with the virus that came from heavily polluted coastal waters.
Hepatitis A Causes
What causes Hepatitis A? Hepatitis A primarily spreads when an uninfected person ingests food or water contaminated with the feces of an infected person. There are a few ways this has typically happened.
An infected person who has dirty hands preparing food for others is what causes hepatitis A in many cases.
Another cause is when one changes a diaper or cleans stool of an infected person and doesn’t wash their hands.
The virus can also spread through sexual contact and contaminated food or water. A waterborne outbreak is usually associated with sewage contamination or water that isn’t treated properly.
Hepatitis A Symptoms
Hepatitis A symptoms can be mild or severe. In fact, some infected people don’t experience any noticeable symptoms. Children under the age of six are especially prone to a lack of symptoms.
Symptoms often appear between two to six weeks after an initial exposure to the virus. Some may endure symptoms of the infection for a few weeks, while others suffer for months.
The most common hepatitis A symptoms include fatigue, fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite. Additionally, abdominal pain, muscle soreness, joint pain and jaundice are common symptoms. Light-colored stool and dark-colored urine are other known symptoms.
Jaundice occurs in more than 70 percent of cases of older children and adults. To spot jaundice, look for a yellow discoloration to the skin and eyes.
Hepatitis A Prevention
Hepatitis A prevention starts with avoiding catching and spreading the virus.
One of the biggest causes of hepatitis A contamination is poor hygiene and sanitation. Keeping up with personal hygiene can actually reduce the spread of hepatitis A. Washing your hands with soap and water regularly, especially after using the bathroom, is key. Washing hands after eating food or changing a diaper also helps with prevention.
To avoid catching the hepatitis A virus, don’t eat undercooked or raw shellfish. Avoid especially any eating such foods in areas where the sanitation is “fishy.” For those traveling to an area with a history of hepatitis A outbreaks, don’t drink tap water. Instead, drink bottled water.
Hepatitis A Treatment
Hepatitis A treatments include eating the right foods and staying hydrated. Here are the top home treatments:
Ginger tea is a great hepatitis A treatment. Ginger boosts your immune system, cleanses the lymphatic system and help the body eliminate toxins and waste. Both ginger root and ginger essential oil are anti-inflammatory and help the immune system.
Additionally, many use ginger to relieve nausea and upset stomach, two common symptoms of hepatitis A. Ginger can also help promote regular digestion, helping the body to absorb the nutrients that it needs to heal. It also relieves pain, reduce inflammation and treat infections.
Peppermint oil is another important hepatitis A treatment.
To boost energy levels and eliminate nausea, peppermint oil is recommended. People who are feeling ill due to bacterial or viral infections, like hepatitis A, also use it. Peppermint has antispasmodic effects on the gastric lining and colon, reducing nausea and vomiting.
Rub 1–2 drops into the back of your neck and bottoms of your feet. You can also add 5–10 drops of peppermint to cool or warm bath water.
Get Plenty of Rest and Reduce Stress
To effectively fight the hepatitis A virus, you need lots of sleep. Eight hours of sleep is essential. Both sleep and reduced stress levels have a proven strong influence on immune functions. (1)
To treat hepatitis A, you must drink lots of water, especially if you are experiencing diarrhea and vomiting.
How much water you need to drink depends on your weight, urine output and the climate. Generally, you need about 60–80 ounces of water per day. Eating hydrating fruits and vegetables will also be helpful. Hydrating foods include watermelon, kiwi, berries, spinach and cucumber.
Eat a Healthy, Well-Balanced Diet
Hepatitis as a term means inflammation of the liver. To treat the symptoms of hepatitis A, you must eat an anti-inflammatory diet. Anti-inflammatory foods help regulate your immune system and allow your body to heal quickly.
While fighting off hepatitis A symptoms, and after recovering, stay away from sugary foods. Processed and packaged foods, and foods containing refined carbohydrates should also be avoided.
Here’s are the foods that you should be eating on a daily basis to recover from hepatitis A:
- green leafy vegetables, including kale, spinach and Swiss chard
- fresh vegetables, like broccoli, cabbage, celery and beets
- root vegetables, like sweet potatoes and carrots
- fresh fruit, especially blueberries, pineapple and citrus fruits
- organic meat and wild fish
- nuts and seeds, especially walnuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds and flaxseeds
- anti-inflammatory spices, like turmeric, cayenne and ginger
- healthy fats, especially avocados, ghee, coconut oil and olive oil
- nutrient-dense bone broth
- probiotic-rich yogurt and kefir
- gluten-free grains like quinoa, brown rice, oats and millet
A natural hepatitis a treatment is possible when one knows the right steps to take, but prevention is important. Keep yourself safe from hepatitis A.