Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B

Hepatitis is a disease that damages the liver, causing swelling, scarring (cirrhosis) or even liver cancer. Because most forms of hepatitis are caused different viruses, vaccinations will help prevent certain forms of the disease. Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B are named for the viruses that cause them.

Hepatitis A is contracted through contact with food or water contaminated by fecal matter from someone with the infection—which may occur when food is prepared by someone with Hepatitis A who did not wash his or her hands after using the bathroom. Hepatitis A can cause flu-like symptoms and liver swelling, but most reasonably healthy people recover within several weeks.

Hepatitis B may also cause flu-like symptoms. Hepatitis B is spread through contact with the blood, semen, or body fluid of an infected person. In addition, the babies may contract Hepatitis B at birth from infected mothers. Hepatitis B may get better after a few months or it may chronic—leading to diseases such as cirrhosis, cancer or liver failure.

While not everyone who has hepatitis may exhibit symptoms, some common symptoms are:

  • Stomach pain and loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Jaundice, a yellowing of the skin and eyes.

Vaccinations for Hepatitis A and B are available. Please schedule an appointment to speak with your physician and complete a health care plan.


    1. Medline / US National Library of Medicine

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