What Is Hepatitis A?
Hepatitis A is an infection of the liver which is caused by the hepatitis A virus. The infection is very contagious and causes the inflammation of the liver and hampers its capacity to function properly. Hepatitis A is caused commonly due to consumption of contaminated water or food or due to contact with a person who is suffering from a hepatitis A infection. If the hepatitis A infection is very mild, it does not require any treatment and often people with hepatitis A recover on their own completely without any damage to the liver.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hepatitis A?
The symptoms of hepatitis A do not appear till the virus is in the body for a few weeks. Some of the symptoms of hepatitis are:
- Fatigue, abdominal discomfort or abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting
- Bowels that are clay-colored, fever, appetite loss
- Dark colored urine, joint pain, severe itching
- Skin and whites of the eyes turn yellow (jaundice)
What Are The Causes Of Hepatitis A?
The hepatitis A virus can spread due to:
- Drinking water that is contaminated.
- Eating food which is handled by a person infected by the virus who does not wash their hands, especially after using the toilet.
- Eating shellfish that has been in sewage polluted water.
- Having sex with a person having the hepatitis A virus.
- Being in physical contact with an infected person.
The risk of hepatitis A increases if you:
- Are living with a person suffering from hepatitis A.
- Are a male having a sexual relationship with other men.
- Work in a child care center.
- Suffer from HIV.
- Have any problem such as hemophilia (clotting factor).
- Use illegal drugs.
- Have a sexual relationship with anyone having hepatitis A.
Hepatitis A cannot be contracted by:
- Sitting next to a person who has hepatitis A.
- Hugging a person who has hepatitis A.
- Being sneezed on or coughed on by any person infected with the hepatitis A virus.
- A baby cannot contract hepatitis A via breast milk.
What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Hepatitis A?
- Practicing good hygiene is the best way to prevent hepatitis A.
- Wash and peel all vegetables and fruits to prevent hepatitis infection.
- Drink bottled water and also use it to brush your teeth. Use bottled water for cooking and also to make ice cubes, etc. Alternatively, you can use boiled water.
- If you’re suffering from hepatitis A, take plenty of rest and avoid being stressed to help the body to fight against the virus.
- Wash your hands properly, particularly after changing a child’s diaper or using the toilet and also before cooking or eating food.
- You can suffer from nausea if you have hepatitis A. Have snacks or small meals throughout the day, instead of eating large meals.
- Instead of water, drink milk or fruit juice. Drink plenty of fluids as this helps to prevent dehydration.
What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Hepatitis A?
- Avoid drinking alcohol if you’re suffering from hepatitis A, as your liver may have problems processing alcohol and medications. Also, this can cause more damage to the liver.
- Avoid drinking water from unknown sources or beverages that are not packaged.
- If you have hepatitis A, then avoid any sexual activity, as condoms do not provide sufficient protection.
- If you have hepatitis A, avoid preparing food for others, as the infection can easily be passed on to others via the food.
What Are The Best Foods For Hepatitis A?
- Follow a well-balanced, clean and anti-inflammatory diet.
- Eat fiber-rich foods, which are good for the liver like green leafy vegetables such as mustard greens, spinach, kale, etc., whole grains, cinnamon, etc. These foods are also good for digestion.
- Eating foods such as pumpkins, carrots, sweet potatoes, apricots, mangoes, etc. help to detoxify the liver.
- Eating foods that are rich in selenium and vitamin E like wheat, rice, broccoli, almonds, etc. help to protect the liver from toxins.
- Foods that are rich in vitamin A like carrots, oranges, lemons, poultry, fish and cereal help in detoxification.
- Having spices like cayenne, turmeric and ginger have anti-inflammatory effects and help the body in recovering from a hepatitis infection.
- Have probiotic-rich foods such as regular yogurt, Greek yogurt, kefir, etc., as they help if you’re having hepatitis.
- Foods such as fresh vegetables and fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, yogurt, carbohydrates like beans, brown rice, lean proteins such as eggs, chicken, lentils, fish, etc. help to protect the liver.
- Use healthy oils such as olive oil, flaxseed oil, etc., as these are beneficial if you’re suffering from hepatitis.
What Are The Worst Foods For Hepatitis A?
- Avoid unpasteurised milk, cheese and other varieties of dairy products, as they can be harmful for the condition of hepatitis.
- Avoid eating raw or undercooked fish and meat.
- Avoid foods that are rich in saturated fats and trans fats such as red meat, full-fat dairy products like milk, cheese, butter, junk food and fried foods as these can be very harmful to the liver.
- Avoid eating processed foods when you’re suffering from hepatitis A as not only are they lacking in nutrients, but hard on the liver and also very difficult to digest. Avoid foods like cheese, fast foods like burgers, hot dogs, bacon, etc., processed bread, white pasta, etc.
What Are The Medicines For Hepatitis A?
What Are The Tips To Manage Hepatitis A?
Some home remedies that can help in hepatitis A are:
- Avoid stress by using calming techniques such as yoga, meditation, etc.
- Lavender oil can also help to reduce stress. You can use 5-10 drops of lavender oil in your diffuser or apply 2-3 drops to your temples or wrist before bedtime.
- Peppermint oil can help to enhance your energy levels and also reduce nausea, which is one of the main symptoms of hepatitis A. Peppermint has antispasmodic and antiemetic effects on the colon and gastric lining and helps to reduce nausea. You can drink a herbal tea made of peppermint. You can add also 5-10 drops of peppermint oil to warm or cool water or add 2-3 drops to cloth and use it as a cool compress or apply a couple of drops to the bottom of your feet.
- Ginger has immunonutrition and anti-inflammatory effects. Drinking ginger tea can help in alleviating nausea and upset stomach.