June 2, 2007

Hepatitis A (cont.)

Hepatitis A Symptoms

Many people with HAV infection have no symptoms at all. Sometimes symptoms are so mild that they go unnoticed. Older people are more likely to have symptoms than children. People who do not have symptoms can still spread the virus.

  • Symptoms of hepatitis A usually develop between 2 and 6 weeks after infection. The symptoms are usually not too severe and go away on their own, over time. The most common symptoms are as follows:

    • Nausea

    • Vomiting

    • Diarrhea, especially in children

    • Low-grade fever

    • Loss of appetite

    • Rash

    • Tiredness, fatigue

    • Jaundice - A yellow discoloration of the skin and the whites of the eyes

    • Urine is dark brownish in color, like cola or strong tea.

    • Pain in area of liver - On the right side of the abdomen, just under the rib cage

  • If the vomiting is severe, dehydration may occur. The symptoms of dehydration include the following:

    • Feeling weak, tired, or "blah"

    • Feeling confused or unable to concentrate

    • Rapid heartbeat

    • Headache

    • Urinating less frequently than usual

    • Irritability

  • Symptoms usually last less than 2 months, although they may last as long as 9 months. About 15% of people infected with hepatitis A have symptoms that come and go for 6-9 months.

  • Hepatitis does not occur simply from being near someone who has the disease at work or at school.

Next: When to Seek Medical Care >>

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Last Editorial Review: 10/21/2005

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