March 5, 2016


How Is Hepatitis Treated?
Treatment options are determined by which type of hepatitis you have and whether the infection is acute or chronic.
Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A isn’t usually treated. Bed rest may be recommended if symptoms cause a great deal of discomfort. If you experience vomiting or diarrhea, you will be put on a special diet created by your doctor to prevent malnutrition or dehydration. Vaccination can also prevent hepatitis A infections by helping your body produce the antibodies that fight this type of infection.
Most children receive the vaccination between ages 12 and 18 months. Vaccination is also available for adults.
Hepatitis B
Acute hepatitis B doesn’t require specific treatment. Chronic hepatitis B is treated with antiviral medications. This form of treatment can be costly because it must be followed for several months or years. Treatment for chronic hepatitis B also requires regular medical evaluations and monitoring to determine if the virus is progressing. The CDC recommends hepatitis B vaccinations for all newborns. The vaccine is also recommended for all healthcare and medical personnel.
Hepatitis C
Antiviral medications are used to treat both acute and chronic forms of hepatitis C. People who develop chronic hepatitis C are typically treated with a combination of antiviral drug therapies. They may also need further testing to determine the best form of treatment. People who develop cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) or liver disease as a result of chronic hepatitis C may be candidates for a liver transplant.
Hepatitis D
Hepatitis D is treated with a medication called alpha interferon. According to the Public Health Agency, between 60 to 97 percent of people develop hepatitis D again even after treatment.
Hepatitis E
There are currently no specific medical therapies to treat hepatitis E. Because the infection is often acute, it typically resolves on its own. People with this type of infection are often advised to get adequate rest, drink plenty of fluids, get enough nutrients, and avoid alcohol.
Tips to Prevent Hepatitis
Practicing good hygiene is one key way to avoid contracting hepatitis. If you’re traveling to a developing country, you should avoid:
    -drinking local water
    -raw fruit and vegetables
Hepatitis contracted through contaminated blood can be prevented by:
    -not sharing drug needles
    -not sharing razors
    -not using someone else’s toothbrush
    -not touching spilled blood
The utilization of vaccines is a second key to preventing hepatitis. Vaccinations are available to prevent the development of hepatitis A and B. Experts are currently developing vaccines against hepatitis C, D, and E.
Complications of Hepatitis
Chronic hepatitis B or C can often lead to more serious health problems. Because the virus primarily affects the liver, people with chronic hepatitis B or C are at risk for:
    -chronic liver disease
    -cirrhosis (scarring of the liver)
    -cancer of the liver (in rare cases)
When the liver stops functioning normally, liver failure can occur. Complications of liver failure include:
    -bleeding disorders
    -a buildup of fluid in the abdomen
    -increased blood pressure in portal veins that enter the liver
    -kidney failure
    -hepatic encephalopathy, which can involve fatigue, memory loss, and diminished mental abilities due to the build up of toxins that affect the brain (especially ammonia)
    -hepatocellular carcinoma, which is a form of liver cancer
People with chronic hepatitis C are encouraged to avoid alcohol because it can accelerate liver disease and failure. Certain supplements, prescription, and over-the-counter medications can also affect liver function. If you have chronic hepatitis C, check with your doctor before taking any new medications.

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