Rite Aid is committed to total wellness and helping our customers avoid any disease that may interfere with achieving wellness. Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease caused by a virus found in the stool of an infected person. It is primarily spread person-to-person via close, personal contact, by drinking contaminated water, and sometimes by eating contaminated food. Hepatitis A can cause flu-like symptoms, yellowing of the skin or eyes, severe stomach pain, and diarrhea. Hepatitis A may be mild or severe, lasting anywhere from a few weeks to several months. In rare cases, liver failure or death may occur.
Hepatitis A is primarily transmitted when the feces/stool of an infected person contaminates objects, food, or drink that then comes into contact with an uninfected individual – usually via the mouth. Hepatitis A can be contracted:
Anyone can contract Hepatitis A, but certain groups in the United States are at a much greater risk, like:
A person could have no symptoms of Hepatitis A and still be infected with it. Children are less likely to have symptoms than adults. Symptoms typically appear two to six weeks after exposure. It typically takes several days for symptoms to develop. Symptoms normally last less than eight weeks, but some can experience symptoms for as long as six months.
A doctor can determine if you have Hepatitis A by reviewing your symptoms and taking a blood sample.
The Hepatitis A vaccine is the most effective way to prevent contracting the disease. It is recommended for children, international travelers, and people who are at increased risk for Hepatitis A infection. A good way to prevent the spread of Hepatitis A is thoroughly washing hands before preparing food, after using the bathroom and after changing a diaper.
Hepatitis A has no specific treatment. Those infected may feel ill for a few months before they start to feel better. Some, however, may require hospitalization. Doctors typically order rest, proper nutrition and plenty of fluids for those infected as they recover. Those afflicted should also consult a physician before taking any supplements, over-the-counter medications or prescriptions. These can sometimes lead to liver damage. Patients should be instructed to avoid alcohol.
The Hepatitis A vaccine consists of inactive Hepatitis A virus that is given to a person (in the form of an inoculation), which stimulates the immune system in the body. After the inoculation has been given, antibodies are produced by the person's body to protect him/her against the virus.
Antibodies are produced when the body responds to invading viruses. They're stored in the blood, and when a person is exposed to virus, the antibodies are released to combat the infection.
The Hepatitis A inoculation is administered as two shots, six months apart. A combination form of the vaccine is also available, containing both Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B vaccines. This combination vaccine is typically given to those over 18 via three shots over a six-month period.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends the Hepatitis A vaccine series for all children between 12 to 23 months of age. Other people that should be routinely vaccinated with Hepatitis A vaccine include:
Two doses of this vaccine are necessary to provide lasting protection. Doses are given at least six months apart.