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Ask Dr. K
HEPATITIS A

QUESTION
I recently was diagnosed with Hepatitis A. I now have jaundice, nausea and fatigue. I am scheduled for vacation to Aruba in two weeks. Is there anything I can do to get rid of the jaundice and start to get more energy? What are your thoughts about going on vacation? Thanks for your time.

ANSWER
Hepatitis A is an infectious disease caused by a virus acquired through sexual contact (usually oral-anal or oral-genital) or exposure to contaminated food or water. Hep A, like all hepatitis viruses, causes inflammation of the liver. The infection is rarely permanent and chronic and greater than 99% of people successfully clear the virus from their systems.

The usual clinical course for symptomatic people is fever, nausea, severe fatigue, weakness, yellowing of the eyes and skin (jaundice) and weight loss for 4-6 weeks. For this infection, the only cure is tincture of time. Over time you will regain your strength and energy. There are no proven medications, treatments, etc. that will make you feel better faster. In two weeks you will likely feel much better than now.

It may be time to recommend to your friends and contacts that they get their Hep A shots -- offered at San Francisco City Clinic -- so that they, too, don't get ill. If you get immunized, you'll never get the infection.

To your health,
Dr. K


   
 
Last modified on Tuesday, June 03, 2008.
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