Hepatitis A (Hep A) has very much been in the news lately with Martin County registering 19 cases in recent days. Below are some facts about this contagious disease and what you can do to prevent you, or members of your family, from contracting it:
- Most people who get Hep A may feel sick for a few days, to a few months, but usually recover completely and do not have any lasting effects. Some have no symptoms at all, while a small number unfortunately experience complications that can lead to liver failure and death, usually in those 50 and older with already comprised liver health.
- The best prevention is being vaccinated against Hep A.
- If your child has already had 2 doses of the vaccine, they are covered and do not need any additional boosters at this time.
- If your child has only had 1 dose, and it was more than 6 months ago, they should come in for their second dose to complete the course.
- This disease is most prevalent in the homeless, drug abuse, those traveling abroad to third world countries and gay populations.
- It is spread through fecal contamination, not via airborne transmission (coughing and sneezing)
- An infected person who does not wash his/her hands after using the restroom and then touches objects or food
- A caregiver does who not properly wash their hands after changing diapers or cleaning up the stool of an infected person
- Someone engages in sexual activities with an infected person
- Consuming contaminated food or water
- If symptoms develop, they usually appear 2 to 6 weeks after infected and can include:
- Grey or clay colored stools
- Abdominal pain near liver
- Joint pain
- Loss of appetite
- Dark urine
If you have any questions regarding Hep A or want to schedule an appointment to bring your child in for their vaccinations, please call our office at (561) 509-5009.
Please follow the link below to view the Fact Sheet from the Centers for Disease Control for more information.