Who Is At Risk For Hepatitis A?
There are a number of factors that can places somebody at a higher risk of being infected with the Hepatitis A Virus (HAV). People that travel to or work in countries that have high rates of Hepatitis A have an elevated risk of contracting the virus. This is also true for people that work with young children. Men who are in sexual relationships with other men also have a higher chance of catching Hepatitis A than the general population. People with hemophilia or HIV also have a greater than normal risk of contracting the disease. If you live with somebody who is infected with Hepatitis A or have a sexual relationship with somebody who has Hepatitis A, you are also at risk to catch the disease.
The good news is that Hepatitis A can be prevented. The best way to avoid catching Hepatitis A is to get vaccinated.
The Hepatitis A vaccine is an injection that puts a small amount of inactive Hepatitis A virus inside your body so your body can learn to fight it. Your body will begin making antibodies that protect you from the virus. These antibodies will be stored in your body and will be capable of fighting off future infections if the Hepatitis A Virus ever enters your body.
The Hepatitis A vaccine consists of two injections. The second shot is given six months after the first. Many vaccines will also protect you against Hepatitis B as well, but not all of them. A vaccine that is specific to Hepatitis A will not protect you from contracting Hepatitis B in the future.
It is possible to be allergic to the Hepatitis A vaccine. People with severe allergies should notify their doctors before receiving the vaccination.
Aside from allergic reactions, the Hepatitis A vaccine is considered safe. There have been no documented serious side effects that have ever resulted from the vaccine. Temporary soreness on the part of the body that receives the injection is the only typical side effect.
How To Avoid Hepatitis A
If you have not had a Hepatitis A vaccine, there are precautions that can be taken to help avoid infection. For example, frequently handwashing with antibiotic soap can cut the risk of contracting Hepatitis A down considerably.
Many of the other steps that can be taken to avoid a Hepatitis A infection are related to food and drink. Do whatever is possible to avoid contaminated water. Steer clear of beverages whose purity cannot be determined. Avoid uncooked shellfish and do not consume fruits or vegetables that have been unpeeled that were not prepared by the concerned party.
Hepatitis A Complications
Nearly everybody who becomes infected with the Hepatitis A Virus will make a full recovery. There is rarely any form of lasting liver damage. Most people will feel sick for a month or two and then fight off the disease.
The worst forms of Hepatitis A complications can cause people's livers to fail and even kill them. This is more often the case with elderly individuals, but it is still exceptionally rare.