Hepatitis A; Transmission, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

Treatment

Treatment for Hepatitis A mainly involves supportive care until the body gets rid of the virus by itself. However, in some cases, a more aggressive approach is required. Liver transplantation can be a lifesaver in some cases, especially in patients with fulminant hepatic failure.

Supportive care for hepatitis A infections include bed rest, antiemetics for nausea and vomiting, and intravenous fluids when patients are at risk of dehydration or electrolyte imbalances. In some cases, hospitalization may be required to administer intravenous medications. This is especially the case in adult patients, who usually develop more severe symptoms. During this stage, do not take any over-the-counter medicines without your doctor’s supervision. That includes acetaminophen, which requires very careful administration.

Hepatitis A causes loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and other uncomfortable symptoms. That’s why, throughout this time, it is crucial to encourage an adequate diet for these patients. The most important dietary restriction is alcohol, and they should also limit their use of any medication unless previously examined and advised by a doctor.

As for liver transplantation, it is very difficult to know which patients need this type of therapy. Many patients with fulminant hepatic failure recover without a transplant, and it is not easy to predict which one is a candidate. Transplantation surgery is a risk by itself, especially when administered in emergency settings to patients with fragile health. But in selected cases, liver transplantation has promising results with some chance of clinical recurrence.

It is also important to provide postexposure prophylaxis to everyone who lives or shares space with the infected patient. This should be administered 14 days after their first exposure to the virus, and public health authorities are often the ones to take this particular step. Immunization is recommended for patients who are about to travel to high-risk countries, especially if they are staying for a period longer than 3 months.

Return to work after hepatitis virus should be delayed after the symptoms are completely gone. That is usually 10 days after the onset of jaundice.

References

Linder, K. A., & Malani, P. N. (2017). Hepatitis a. Jama, 318(23), 2393-2393.

Joseph, A., & Samant, H. (2020). Jaundice. StatPearls [Internet].

Schaefer, T. J., & John, S. (2019). Acute hepatitis. In StatPearls [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing.

Iorio, N., & John, S. (2019). Hepatitis A. In StatPearls [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing.

Written by Martin Davis