Friday, January 25, 2019

Hepatitis A and Children

Hepatitis A is a very serious liver disease caused by the Hepatitis A virus. Children with the virus often times don’t show symptoms. Therefore, they can pass the virus on to others, including their unvaccinated parents or caregivers, without knowing. Symptoms of Hepatitis A include fever, loss of appetite, fatigue, stomach pain, vomiting, dark urine, and yellowing of the skin and eyes. These symptoms typically appear two to six weeks after a person is exposed to the virus.

The Hepatitis A virus is found in the stool of a person who has the virus. It spreads when a person puts something in his or her mouth that has virus on it. As we all know, young children tend to put everything in their mouths, which puts them at a much higher risk. Even if an item looks clean, it can still have the virus on it. The amount of stool can be so tiny that it cannot be seen with the naked eye. Hepatitis A virus can be found on surfaces such as toys, doorknobs, diapers, grocery carts or food.

Doctors recommend that children get two doses of the Hepatitis A vaccine for the best protection. The first dose should be administered at 12 months old and the second dose should be administered six months later. The vaccine is very safe and effective. Vaccination is the best way to protect children from the Hepatitis A virus.

For more information on Hepatitis A, please call the Darke County Health Department’s Infectious Disease Nurse, Emily, at 937-548-4196 x235. There will be a no-cost-to-you Hepatitis A vaccine clinic held on February 7th, 2019 from 3:00 pm until 6:30 pm at the Darke County Health Department. For appointments, call 937-548-4196 x224. Walk-ins are also welcome.

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