Hepatitis means "inflammation of the liver." While hepatitis can occur as a side effect of some medications and from alcohol abuse, there are five types that are caused by a viral infection.
Types of Hepatitis
|Type||How it Spreads||Incubation Period||Treatment||Vaccination||Chronic?|
|A||Fecal-oral contact, generally through poor hand washing||2–6 weeks||No specific treatment||Yes||No|
|B||Contaminated needles and syringes or sexual contact||2–6 months||Adefovir dipivoxil, alpha interferon and lamivudine||Yes||6% of cases|
|C||Contaminated needles, workplace exposure to blood, blood transfusions, intravenous drug use, tattooing and piercing, rarely by sexual activity||2 weeks–6 months||Interferon and ribavirin||No||75–85% of cases|
|D||Contaminated needles and syringes or sexual contact||2–8 weeks||Same as Hepatitis B||No||Co-exists only with Hepatitis B, can become chronic|
|E||Fecal-oral contact, generally through poor hand washing||3–8 weeks||No specific treatment||No||No|
Most people with hepatitis have no symptoms. If symptoms do occur, they vary widely and can resemble many other illnesses. Some symptoms include:
- Jaundice (yellowing of skin)
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
- Dark urine
There is a specific blood test for each type of hepatitis. These can be performed at the IU Health Center lab with orders from your medical provider.
There are vaccinations available for Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B.
Hepatitis A vaccinations are recommended if:
- You are traveling to or working in countries with high levels of Hepatitis A. Talk to the Travel Clinic before you go.
- You work in a research lab with Hepatitis A or with virus-infected primates
- You live in a state, county, or community where Hepatitis A occurs at twice the national average
- You are a man who has sexual contact with other men
- You are an illegal drug user
- You have chronic liver disease
- You have a clotting-factor disorder
Hepatitis B vaccinations are recommended if:
- You are 18 or younger and have never been vaccinated
- Your behavior puts you at risk for Hepatitis B
- Your job exposes you to human blood
IU Health Center offer Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B vaccinations at our Immunization Clinic.
- Rest and good nutrition are important for all individuals with hepatitis
- Eat a healthy diet. See a Health and Wellness nutrition counselor for help with meal planning
- Alcohol should not be consumed during the course of the infection
- Specific recommendations are available from a medical provider regarding medications for Hepatitis B and C infections