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Hepatitis A

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 5, 2024.

What is hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is inflammation of the liver caused by hepatitis A virus (HAV) infection. HAV is most often spread through contaminated food or water, or close contact with someone who is infected. HAV infection can be prevented with 2 or 3 doses of the hepatitis A vaccine. The vaccine must be given before you are infected with HAV. You can get the vaccine as an adult if you did not get it as a child. Your healthcare provider can give you more information. He or she can tell you when to get the vaccine, and how many doses to get.

Abdominal Organs

What are the signs and symptoms of hepatitis A?

You may have no symptoms. Symptoms usually begin between 28 to 30 days after exposure to HAV, but it may be up to 50 days. You may have the following signs and symptoms:

How is hepatitis A diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask about your signs and symptoms and any health problems you have. Tell him or her if you have hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or another liver disease. Tell your provider if you drink alcohol or use any illegal drugs. Blood tests are used to show if you are infected with HAV and to check your liver function.

How is hepatitis A treated?

Usually you will be treated at home. Medicine may not be needed. If you vomit a lot, you may need to go to the hospital to get fluids through an IV. Rest and healthy food will help you get better.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

What can I do to manage hepatitis A?

How is HAV spread?

How can I prevent the spread of HAV?

You are most contagious in the 2 weeks before and the first week after you become jaundiced. Your friends, sex partners, and family members may need to get the hepatitis A vaccine. If you already have hepatitis A, it is too late to get the vaccine. The following are important things you can do to keep from spreading the infection:

What can I do to prevent the spread of germs?

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Learn more about Hepatitis A

Treatment options

Care guides

Symptoms and treatments

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.