Hepatitis A


This viral infection affects the liver. It's a short-term infection that doesn't cause lasting harm. A vaccine has made hepatitis A infections rare in the United States.


The virus that causes hepatitis A spreads through feces. You can get it if you eat food contaminated by infected feces. You can get it by drinking unclean water. You can also get it by having close contact with an infected person. For example, it can spread to you if you have sex with an infected person, or if you care for them while they are sick.


Not everyone who gets an infection has symptoms. For those who do, symptoms begin a few weeks after exposure. You may have fatigue, nausea and vomiting. Your abdomen may hurt, especially on the right side by your liver. You may have loss of appetite, fever, and joint pain. Your urine may be dark, and your stools may be clay-colored. Your skin may itch. And, your eyes and skin may look yellowish. Usually, these symptoms get better after a few weeks. For some people, however, the infection can be serious. It can last for months.


Hepatitis A is treated with rest and plenty of fluids. The infection can make it hard for your liver to process alcohol and medications. So while you're sick, avoid alcohol, and talk to your doctor before you take any medications. And make sure you practice good hygiene so you don't infect others.