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...
Sharing needles and other equipment (such as
cotton, spoons, and water) used to inject drugs.
Having your ears
or another body part pierced, getting a tattoo, or having
acupuncture with needles that have not been sterilized
properly. The risk of getting hepatitis C in these ways is very
Working in a health care environment where you are exposed to
fresh blood or where you may be pricked with a used needle. Following standard
precautions for health care workers makes this risk very low.
Other possible risks
Sometimes people get hepatitis C from:
Having had a blood transfusion or organ
transplant before 1992. Since 1992, all donated blood and organs are screened for hepatitis C.
Having been exposed to unsafe practices for giving shots, such as
reusing needles. This occurs in some developing countries.
to have your blood filtered by a machine (hemodialysis)
because your kidneys cannot filter your blood.
Being born to a
mother who has hepatitis C. The risk of passing the virus to a child is greater
if the mother is also infected with
Experts are not sure if
you can get hepatitis C through sexual contact. If there is a risk of getting
the virus through sexual contact, it is very small. The risk is
higher if you have many sex
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
July 06, 2011
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