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Hepatitis A Symptoms

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Hepatitis A (hep A) is a viral infection of the liver that can make you feel like you have the flu.

You can catch hepatitis A if you come in close contact with someone who has it. The virus spreads easily among people who live together. It is common among young children, who can easily spread it to other people.

You may also get hepatitis A if you eat or drink something contaminated with the virus. Proper hand washing can help reduce your risk.

It is very contagious. Here is all you need to know about the symptoms of hepatitis A.

Does Hepatitis A Always Cause Symptoms?

Symptoms of hepatitis A vary and often depend on your age.

Some people do not have any noticeable symptoms. Often, however, people feel and look sick. Many need to be hospitalized.

Some people have changes in liverblood test results, and others do not.

If you do not have any symptoms, you are "asymptomatic." Most children under age 6 who have the virus do not have symptoms. Symptoms and complications of the disease are more common with increasing age.

Symptoms usually appear between two and four weeks after you have come in contact with the virus. However, the first symptoms may be seen anytime between 15 and 50 days.

What Are the Symptoms of Hepatitis A?

If symptoms occur, they can be vague and mimic the flu. Most people with hepatitis A usually have:

Several days later, symptoms of liver problems will occur. You may have:

Children with hepatitis A may also have the following symptoms:

People over age 50 and those with chronic liver disease may have a more severe case of hepatitis A called fulminant hepatitis A infection. Symptoms can include:

  • Blood clotting problems
  • Confusion and changes in alertness
  • Liver function continues to get worse
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes that gets worse

Your doctor may find the following symptoms when they examine you:

  • Swollen liver
  • Swollen spleen
  • Tenderness in the right upper side of your belly
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