On July 28, many countries around the world celebrate Hepatitis Day. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 325 million people worldwide are living with chronic hepatitis B or C virus infection.
Letidor turned to Timur Pesterev, urologist, expert at the Center for Molecular Diagnostics (CMD), to find out what all parents need to know in order to protect themselves and their children from serious diseases caused by the hepatitis virus.
What is hepatitis and what types are known
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, which is caused by various factors: viruses (hepatitis A, B, C), toxic substances (alcohol, drugs), autoimmune diseases. However, most often they come to the doctor with viral hepatitis.
There are three main types of hepatitis - hepatitis A, B, C, as well as more rare types (D, E). All of these hepatitis are caused by different viruses, and they can be infected in different ways.
How can you get hepatitis?
Hepatitis A is usually acquired through unwashed hands and food. The hepatitis A virus has several properties that enable it to spread very quickly: it is extremely resistant in the external environment, resistant to disinfectants, ultraviolet light, has a long incubation period (4-6 weeks), during which the carrier can already infect others. Infection occurs through the fecal-oral mechanism. Typical ways are contact-household, alimentary (food), water.
The pathogen is only sensitive to high temperatures.
For the prevention of hepatitis A, it is imperative to subject food to heat treatment, pour boiling water over vegetables and fruits, and wash your hands before eating.
Hepatitis B and C are infected through blood and dirty medical instruments. The hepatitis B virus has a resistance in the external environment comparable to hepatitis A, hepatitis C is less resistant. Prevention of these diseases (hepatitis B and C) is associated with the observance of sexual hygiene.
Symptoms of hepatitis are usually heaviness and pain in the right side, fever, yellowness of the skin, darkening of urine. Attention should be paid to these symptoms - especially jaundice.
Unfortunately, it happens that there may be no external manifestations of the disease.
A reliable way is to take a blood test for antibodies to hepatitis viruses.
How is hepatitis treated?
During illness, bed rest is recommended, a special diet with a reduced load on the liver is prescribed - table 5 according to Pevzner (fractional meals in small portions, a small amount of fat in food). Usually the disease progresses favorably, but if hospitalization is necessary, then the attending physician determines its timing.
When is quarantine introduced in kindergartens and schools
Also, in this case, safety measures must be observed. Quarantine is introduced in kindergartens and schools; new children are not transferred or accepted until the end of the incubation period.
After each change and clarification of the diagnosis, it is also required to provide all data in a twelve hour period. Quarantine lasts 35 days from the first recorded disease.
If someone else in the group or class gets sick, then the quarantine time starts from this sick person.
This cycle is repeated until a full 35 days have passed since the last patient was identified. After that, it is possible to remove the group or class from quarantine.
Is hepatitis fatal?
Any of these types of hepatitis can be fatal under certain conditions. So, for example, although mild hepatitis A may have a pronounced onset, the likelihood of complications and its transition to a chronic form is very low. Hepatitis B is slightly more likely to become chronic.The highest probability of chronicity of the disease and severe complications in hepatitis C.
Thus, we can say that hepatitis C is conditionally more fatal.
In children, the likelihood of the disease becoming a chronic process is much higher.
What Happens With Chronic Hepatitis
Liver cells slowly die, the liver loses its function of neutralizing poisons, the person dies. Often such lesions precede liver cancer.
Is it possible to cure chronic forms of hepatitis
Now yes. Until recently, the chronic form of hepatitis B and C was difficult to treat and it happened for a long time. Now there are drugs that relieve the chronic form of hepatitis.
A couple of years ago, the treatment was very expensive. Now it is available to almost everyone.
How to protect yourself from hepatitis
The best way is to observe basic hygiene rules and carry out invasive (injections, operations, blood transfusions, etc.) interventions only in reliable, licensed institutions.
You should think about taking tests for antibodies to hepatitis after visiting a dubious clinic or beauty salon, where you underwent procedures related to the violation of the integrity of the skin.
Regular testing for the presence of antibodies to hepatitis viruses in the blood can save health and life in many cases.
Why do I need a hepatitis vaccine
Vaccination is a guaranteed and practically the only method of protection against hepatitis A. It is not mandatory, but it is strongly recommended for both adults and children. Immunization is carried out in two stages with an interval of 6-12 months.
A single vaccination protects the body from hepatitis A for 5-6 years, and the entire course of vaccination provides protection for up to 20 years.
If a person had hepatitis in childhood (usually A), will they have health problems in the future
If a person has had hepatitis A, then he remains immunity for life. Problems can arise only if there are complications during the period of the disease itself, which is extremely rare.