World Hepatitis Day: Symptoms of hepatitis and how to reduce the risk of hepatitis during pregnancy?
Every year, Hepatitis Day is celebrated on 28 July to generate awareness about the viral disease.
Hepatitis is a viral disease that causes inflammation of the liver. The most common cause of hepatitis is a viral infection. But, there are several other causes of hepatitis. Some of them include autoimmune hepatitis and hepatitis that occurs due to over-exploitation of drugs, medications, toxins and most importantly alcohol.
Autoimmune hepatitis is a disease that is caused when the body makes antibodies against the liver tissue of the person.
The most common cause of hepatitis is from contaminated water, contaminated food and contaminated syringes. Hepatitis is also caused when the liver is damaged due to over usage of medicines and drugs. Alcohol consumption has proved to be a major reason for causing hepatitis.
Hepatitis virus has five variants: A, B, C, D and E.
Hepatitis A is most commonly transmitted through food and water contaminated with the faeces of an infected person.
Hepatitis B is transmitted through the body fluids of an infected person. Body fluids like semen, vaginal secretion, and blood containing the Hepatitis B virus. Injection using the same syringe or having sex with the infected person, or using the same razor might increase the risk of getting infected with the virus.
Hepatitis C is transmitted through direct contact with the body fluids of the infected person such as through injection use and sexual contact.
Hepatitis D is also known as delta hepatitis. It is a serious liver disease that is caused by the hepatitis D virus. HDV is transmitted through direct contact with the infected blood. This type of virus is a rare form of hepatitis that only happens simultaneously with hepatitis B infection. The D type of this virus cannot multiply without the presence of the B type.
Hepatitis E is a waterborne disease that is caused by the hepatitis E virus. This type of virus is mainly found in regions with poor sanitation. It is generally caused by faecal matter that contaminates the water.
If you are infected with hepatitis B and C, the symptoms might not be visible until it damages the liver. The most common symptoms of acute hepatitis include:
Yellow skin and eyes
If hepatitis is detected during pregnancy, there is a high chance of maternal and prenatal death. This can be prevented by administering antiviral therapy. To prevent the child from getting infected, it must be vaccinated as soon as the baby is born.
To prevent hepatitis A and E from spreading, hygiene is the key factor to keep in mind. Water, food, sanitation, raw vegetables and raw fruits among others, should be kept in mind.
Hepatitis B, C and D that are transmitted through contaminated blood and body fluids, can be prevented by:
Avoiding used syringes
Avoid sharing personal hygiene products
Spilt blood should not be touched
Condoms must be used to avoid sexual transmission
Hepatitis can be prevented from getting vaccinated. But, vaccinations only provide prevention against hepatitis A and B. Vaccinations for the other three types of the virus is under progress.