NHS Service

The Risk of Hepatitis A: What You Should Know

Hepatitis A Symptoms

Hepatitis A is a short-term form of hepatitis that is caused by the hepatitis A virus. It can be found everywhere across the globe, but it’s more common in rural areas or in regions with poor water and sanitation.

Hepatitis A Symptoms

Hepatitis A symptoms will usually start to develop about 4 weeks after being infected. Not everyone will experience symptoms, but for those who do the symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Headache
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Sore throat
  • Stomach upset
  • A rash
  • Jaundice
  • Discoloured urine
  • Intense itching
  • Abdominal swelling on the upper right side
  • Clay-coloured bowel movements

These symptoms will typically last up to two weeks. If the disease progresses, the symptoms will become more severe and can last for several months but unlike other types of hepatitis. help A is rarely fatal and usually doesn’t cause permanent complications.

Hepatitis A Causes

Hepatitis A is caused by contracting the hepatitis A virus (HAV) but not everyone who is exposed to the virus will get hepatitis A. HAV is usually found in food and water that contains contaminated faecal matter. It can also be spread from person to person. Once you contract it, the virus will spread from your bloodstream to your liver where it will cause inflammation and swelling.

You can get hep A by:

  • Eating food prepared by someone with hep A or by someone who doesn’t properly wash their hands.
  • Eating contaminated raw shellfish.
  • Eating produce washed with contaminated water.
  • Using or drinking contaminated water.
  • Having sex with someone who has hepatitis A.
Hep A Prevention

When travelling in a region where hepatitis A is prevalent, you should protect yourself by always thoroughly washing your hands, only eating hot food prepared by someone you trust, and using bottled water for drinking, food prep, and hygiene.

However, the best way to prevent contracting hepatitis A is by getting the highly effective hepatitis A vaccine.

Hepatitis A Travel Vaccination 

Aim to get your vaccine at least 2-3 weeks before you leave for your trip. Even if you are vaccinated, you should still take precautions against being exposed to the hep A virus.

Protect yourself and get peace of mind by booking an appointment with one of Touchwood Pharmacie’s travel vaccination clinics. Visit our website to find out more about how we can help keep you healthy on your travels.