Does your child’s decreased appetite concern you? Does she fall sick quite often? If you nodded along, you might want to take her for a vaccination. She might have hepatitis A. What is it? How do you spot it? Learn all about it here.
What Is Hepatitis A?
Hepatitis A is a serious health condition triggered due to the presence of a contagious virus in the body. Hepatitis A easily transmits from one human body to the other through normal contact or eating contaminated food or water. It can be due to reasons like bacterial or viral infection, a liver injury due to toxins. It can also manifest itself as liver damage and interrupt an organ’s blood supply, and lead to an abnormal trauma in the liver.
Symptoms Of Hepatitis A In Children:
Some of the symptoms your child might exhibit include:
- Stomach ache
- Loss of appetite
[ Read: Symptoms Of Jaundice In Children ]
Hepatitis A Vaccine For Children – Why Is It Given?
Hepatitis A vaccine is given to children who travel to places where the virus is common. The vaccine is given in a series of two shots; the child receiving the shot should be at least one year of age. The second is given six months after the first. Babies with Hepatitis A virus can spread the virus to others. Adults who change their diapers can also run the risk of infection.
The hepatitis A vaccine for child is administered as a series of three shots, the first from birth up to 2 months of age. The second one to two months after the same dose and third from 6 to 18 month of age (1).
[ Read: Hepatitis B Vaccine For Children ]
Diagnosing Hepatitis A In Children:
To test hepatitis, the doctor will recommend a blood test. In rare cases, the doctor might recommend a biopsy to check if there is damage to the liver. The doctor will diagnose the disease using various material, like:
- Medical history of the child
- The extent of disease
- Child’s tolerance to specific medicines
Treating Hepatitis A In Children:
The treatment of hepatitis might differ depending on the cause of the disease:
- Medication if it is virus
- Supportive care like a healthy diet and bed rest
- Medication to control itching
- Frequent blood test in rare cases
- Nutrition support (2).
[ Read: Types Of Hepatitis In Children ]
Hepatitis Vaccine Is Recommended For:
- Children and adolescents who are not vaccinated at birth.
- Travelers who are planning to visit an area that is more conducive to Hepatitis A (3).
The incidence of Hepatitis has declined drastically with the invention of a vaccine. Earlier children aged 5-14 had the highest chance of being diagnosed with Hepatitis A. Vaccinations are available for Hepatitis A and B.
Preventing Hepatitis A In Children:
Hepatitis is a cause of concern as it originates from a virus and also spreads from one child to another. Not everyone who is infected will experience the same symptoms. Hepatitis is a disease nobody would want to experience. Give your child a hygiene lesson and teach her healthy habits. If she hasn’t been vaccinated already, take her to a doctor and get her a hepatitis vaccine soon as possible. Some other tips you can encourage your kids to follow is:
- Avoid ice and unbottled water while traveling
- Avoid uncooked shellfish
- Avoid unpeeled and uncooked vegetables
- Avoid food from street vendors
- Avoid salads
[ Read: Common Childhood Diseases And Vaccines ]
If you have any further information on hep A vaccine for children, or would like to share an experience, please write to us. It would help fellow moms learn more about the disease and keep their kiddies safe.
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