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.
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 liver blood 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:
Loss of appetite
Muscle aches and pains
Nausea and vomiting
Several days later, symptoms of liver problems will occur. You may have:
Light-colored bowel movements
Yellow skin (jaundice). This is less common in children under age 6.
Yellowing of the white part of the eyes (scleral icterus)