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Hepatitis Health Center

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Hepatitis A Symptoms

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Hepatitis A can make you feel like you have the flu.

It's caused by a virus that you can catch if you come in close contact with someone who has it. The disease spreads easily if you live with other people, and it's common among young children.

You may also get hep A if you eat or drink something that's got the virus in it. You can cut down on your risk of getting sick if you wash your hands before meals.

Does Hepatitis A Always Cause Symptoms?

There's a lot of variety to how people feel when they have the disease. It's possible you might not have any symptoms. But people often feel and look sick. You might even need to go to the hospital.

Symptoms and complications are more common as you get older. Most children under age 6 with hep A don't have any.

What Are the Symptoms?

You can get the first symptoms anytime between 15 and 50 days after you came in contact with the virus. But they usually show up between about 2 and 4 weeks later.

Most people with hepatitis A usually have:

Several days later, some symptoms of liver problems can show up. You may have:

If your child has hep A, he may also have:

If you're over age 50 or have a long-term liver disease, you may have a more severe case of the disease called fulminant hepatitis A infection. You could have symptoms like:

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

When you see your doctor, he may spot some more signs that you've got the disease. For instance, he might find that you have:

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