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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
TypeHow it SpreadsIncubation PeriodTreatmentVaccinationChronic?
AFecal-oral contact, generally through poor hand washing2–6 weeksNo specific treatmentYesNo
BContaminated needles and syringes or sexual contact2–6 monthsAdefovir dipivoxil, alpha interferon and lamivudineYes6% of cases
CContaminated needles, workplace exposure to blood, blood transfusions, intravenous drug use, tattooing and piercing, rarely by sexual activity2 weeks–6 monthsInterferon and ribavirinNo75–85% of cases
DContaminated needles and syringes or sexual contact2–8 weeksSame as Hepatitis BNoCo-exists only with Hepatitis B, can become chronic
EFecal-oral contact, generally through poor hand washing3–8 weeksNo specific treatmentNoNo
Hepatitis Symptoms

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)
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dark urine
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea

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.

Hepatitis Prevention

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.

Hepatitis Treatment
  • 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