Jaundice: How does it spread and how do you protect yourself?

Jaundice occurs as a result of increased levels of bilirubin in the blood, which is manifested by yellowing of the sclera, skin and mucous membranes. These can be prehepatic jaundice (in hemolysis of blood), hepatocellular (in hepatitis, cirrhosis, alcoholic liver disease), obstructive (bile duct obstruction from metastases, gallstones) and neonatal jaundice (jaundice in newborns).

Hepatitis is a disease characterized by inflammation of the liver cells, ie the cells of the liver. There are several causes that lead to hepatitis such as alcohol abuse, trauma, taking certain medications and certain autoimmune diseases, but it most often occurs as a result of a viral infection.

Viral hepatitis is in most cases caused by hepatotropic viruses (A, B, C, D, E, F, G), and less frequently by other viruses such as Epstein-Barr virus (infectious mononucleosis) or varicella (chickenpox).

Hepatitis A is the most common form of acute viral inflammation of the liver. The world officially registers about 1.5 million cases a year, although it is estimated that the rate of infection is 10 times higher. This disease is closely related to poor socio-economic conditions and is most common in underdeveloped or developing countries.

Hepatitis A has a seasonal character and usually occurs in the autumn-winter period, and the incubation time is usually from 14 to 28 days.

The virus is usually introduced into the body through:

-Consumption of food prepared by an infected person who does not practice thorough hand washing after visiting the toilet;
-Close contact with an infected person (even if there are no symptoms);
-Drinking contaminated water;
-Sexual contact with an infected person (especially homosexuals).
The virus can not be transmitted by coughing, sneezing or staying in the same room with an infected person (provided there is no close contact).

Typical symptoms and signs of hepatitis A are:

-Nausea and vomiting;
-Abdominal pain, especially in the upper right part (this is the location of the liver);
-Loss of appetite;
-Muscle pain;
-Dark staining of urine;
-Yellowing of the whites of the eyes and skin (jaundice).
The disease usually lasts about 1 to 2 months, and in rare cases can persist for up to 6 months. Certain people with HIV infection may not have any symptoms.

In most cases the disease passes without complications, but rarely it can occur:

-Recurrence of infection. About 15% of infected people have a relapse, ie the disease returns with the same symptoms. Relapse usually occurs 1 to 4 months after the onset of symptoms.
-Cholestasis – prevention of normal bile flow.
-Fulminant hepatitis with acute liver failure. Unlike other hepatic viruses, this complication is very rare in HAV. In addition to jaundice, nausea and vomiting, it is manifested by a tendency to bleeding, swelling of the legs, ascites, hepatic encephalopathy which can end in death.

In order to protect yourself from the hepatitis A virus, practice the following tips:

1.Maintain personal hygiene. Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water after going to the toilet, changing diapers and before cooking, serving and consuming food.
2.Cook food at 85 ° C. This is how HAV is inactivated, thus protecting you from transmitting the infection, unless food contamination occurs after heating.
3.Peel a squash, grate it and squeeze the juice.
4.Do not share a toothbrush, cloth, cutlery and other personal items.
5.If in doubt about the quality of the water you drink, bring it to a boil.
6.Avoid eating raw fish and meat.
7.Use protection during sexual intercourse.

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