Understanding the basics of hepatitis

Hepatitis is a viral infection that affects the liver. There are five different viruses that cause various forms of hepatitis. They are: Hepatitis A, B, C, D and E. Some forms of hepatitis are quite serious, and may lead to life-threatening complications. Consider talking to a doctor at West Hills Hospital about whether you should get screened for hepatitis.

Signs and symptoms of hepatitis
The symptoms of hepatitis may not develop right away after exposure. It’s also possible to have hepatitis and not experience any symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they may include:

  • Dark yellow urine
  • Persistent fatigue
  • Fever
  • Gray or clay-colored stools
  • Joint pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes)

Methods of transmission of hepatitis
The hepatitis viruses can be transmitted a number of different ways. Knowing the method of transmission can help people take steps to protect their health. Doctors also recommend getting vaccines to guard against hepatitis A and B.

Hepatitis A is transmitted through contact with contaminated food or water. People can also contract the virus with close personal contact, such as serving as a caregiver to an infected person or having sex with an infected person.

Hepatitis B is transmitted through contact with infected bodily fluids, including blood and semen. Hepatitis B can spread from a mother to her newborn, between sexual partners, by sharing infected needles or by having contact with the open wound of an infected person.

Hepatitis C and D are also spread through contact with infected bodily fluids. However, a person can only contract hepatitis D if he or she has also had a hepatitis B infection.

Hepatitis E spreads through contaminated food and water.

Patients with hepatitis, and those who may have been exposed to a hepatitis virus, will find comprehensive and compassionate care at West Hills Hospital . Our skilled doctors and nurses are committed to providing world-class medical care because the health of our West Hills community is important to us. Call a registered nurse at (818) 676-4321 if you would like information about our specialty services.

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