Hepatitis A is a kind of infectious liver infection. It is caused by a virus that is transmitted through contaminated food or water or by close contact with someone who has the virus. The rate of infection has risen sharply over the last three years, by 300 percent in fact. Understanding hepatitis A is the key to preventing your aging relative from becoming infected.
General Information About Hepatitis A
Most of the time when people get hepatitis A, they are able to completely recover without any permanent damage to the liver. In fact, mild cases may not even need treatment. However, there can sometimes be complications, and older adults are at greater risk for them. Hepatitis A can occasionally lead to an abrupt loss of liver function, which can result in the need for a liver transplant. Older adults who have a chronic liver condition are more likely to develop complications.
Hepatitis A is most commonly spread through ingesting food or drink that has been contaminated with fecal matter containing the virus. It is not spread when a person sneezes or coughs.
Some of the ways the virus is spread are:
- Consuming foods that have been handled by someone who has the virus and did not thoroughly wash their hands after using the bathroom.
- Drinking water that has been contaminated.
- Eating raw shellfish that comes from contaminated waters.
- Close contact with someone who is infected.
Symptoms of Hepatitis A
The symptoms of hepatitis A usually don’t start until after the person has had the virus for a couple of weeks. However, not everyone experiences symptoms. If they do, they may have the following symptoms:
- Pain or discomfort in the abdomen, mostly on the right side beneath the ribs where the liver is located
- Sudden vomiting or nausea
- Stool that is clay-colored
- Lack of appetite
- Darkly colored urine
- Joint pain
Hepatitis A Prevention
There is a vaccination available for hepatitis A, which is the best way to prevent the condition. It is a two-step vaccine with a second shot being given about six months after the first one. Talk to your aging relative’s doctor about whether the vaccination is appropriate for them. Following good hygiene practices, such as thoroughly washing hands after using the bathroom, can also prevent the spread of hepatitis A.
If your aging relative needs a vaccination for hepatitis A, a senior care provider can drive them to the clinic to get it. Senior care providers can also help seniors who have the condition to manage the disease and prevent spreading it to others. If the doctor has prescribed medications, a senior care provider can remind the older adult to take them. Senior care providers can also assist older adults to wash their hands thoroughly.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Elderly Care in La Canada, CA, please contact the caring staff at Home Care Help. Serving All of Los Angeles County. Call Us Today (888) 989-7388
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