NHS Service

What are Hepatitis and What Are the Types?

Hepatitis Vaccination - Touchwood Pharmacy

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that is caused by a viral infection or through drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. Many cases of hepatitis pass without long-term effects, but if it becomes chronic, the liver damage can be catastrophic.

Types of Hepatitis

Hepatitis A: An infection that most people will fully recover from within 4-8 weeks. There is no cure so treatment is limited to reducing symptoms, but there is a Hepatitis A vaccine.

Hepatitis B: Hepatitis B is uncommon in the UK and most adults will recover in a couple of months. Children who contract it are more at risk for it developing into a life-long, chronic form of hepatitis. Like Hepatitis A, there is no cure, but there is a vaccine.

Hepatitis C: This is the most prevalent form of hepatitis in the UK, although it often shows no symptoms. Only a quarter of those infected will fully recover, with the rest at risk of serious complications. There is no vaccine, but antiviral medications are very effective in treating it.

Hepatitis Causes

Hepatitis A is usually spread through food, drink, and water that has been contaminated with the feces of someone who is infected. That’s why it is most often found in regions with poor sanitation and access to clean water.

Hepatitis B is spread through the blood of a person infected with the virus. It is most often spread through injected drugs, unprotected sex, and from infected pregnant women to their babies. Healthcare workers and people traveling to southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa are also at risk.

Hepatitis C is also spread through the blood of someone who is infected. Most cases are the result of intravenous drug use, unsafe medical practices, or unprotected sex. 

Hepatitis Prevention

The risk of Hepatitis A can be reduced by only using and drinking bottled water, washing your hands, and avoiding street food, ice cubes, and raw fruit and vegetables. 

Hepatitis B & C can be prevented by practicing safe sex, using clean needles, and only going to tattoo shops and medical facilities with comprehensive sterilization procedures.

Hepatitis A & B have effective vaccines available that are recommended for anyone at risk of contracting the virus. Contact Touchwood Pharmacy or book your appointment online for hepatitis vaccination in Streatham, hepatitis vaccination in Northolt, and hepatitis vaccination in Hanwell.