What is Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A Virus affects the liver of infected patients resulting in complications due to liver failure. Hepatitis A is found in the stool of infected persons in addition to being spread by close personal contact, sharing food or water with an infected person or sexual activity.
The disease is highly virulent. Hep A can cause three commonly recognized symptoms:
- Flu-like illness
- Severe stomach pains and diarrhea in children
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes and darkened urine)
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Approximately 20 percent of those who are infected with the disease require hospitalization. Many adults contract HAV are too ill to work or participate in normal activities for about one month’s time. Only about .03 to .06 percent of those who contract Hepatitis A Virus dies. Fortunately the HAV vaccine can prevent individuals from contracting the disease.
Who should be vaccinated?
Those who are at risk of exposure are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated. It is quite easy to the immunization in a NYC travel clinic This may include healthcare workers, daycare workers, or those who work in an environment where they are exposed to fecal matter. It is recommended that all children between one and two years of age be vaccinated.
Anyone who is one year of age or older and plans on traveling to a country with a high risk of exposure to HAV should get vaccinated. High risk areas are Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe. Children and teens who live in high risk areas where there are high incidences of Hep A should also be vaccinated. It is also strongly encouraged that homosexual men be vaccinated. Anyone who uses intravenous drugs is at an increased risk of contracting Hep A and should be inoculated.
Anyone who is planning on adopting a child from a country with a high prevalence of the disease should be vaccinated, as should any person who already has liver disease. Anyone who is at risk of liver disease due to high risk behaviors should be inoculated.
When should you be vaccinated?
Any time a person wants to be vaccinates should be. Travelers should be vaccinated one month before travel. If you are planning on traveling before one month’s time, it is still highly recommended to get the vaccine.
Who should wait or forgo Hep A vaccines?
Those who are moderately to severely ill at the time of their appointment should postpone it. Children under one year of age should not be vaccinated. Tell your doctor if you have any severe allergies that could cause a life threatening reaction to vaccine components, including latex, alum, or 2-phenoxyethenol.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, because while the risk to a pregnant woman and her fetus is believed to be low, there is still a slight risk. Your doctor may feel the benefits of protection may outweigh the slight risks involved.
What are the risks of the Hepatitis A vaccine?
Hepatitis vaccines could cause patients to develop a headache, loss of appetite, lethargy, soreness of the injection site. The disease is certainly more dangerous that the risks involved in getting the vaccine. There is a very low risk of the Hepatitis A vaccine causing serious harm or death to patients.
What are the signs of a moderate or severe reaction?
Any unusual condition or symptom such as a high fever or odd behaviors should be reported to your physician. Severe allergic reactions may include respiratory distress, hives, and hoarseness in the voice, pale skin, heart palpitations or muscle weakness. In the event of a reaction, call your doctor or go to the emergency room as quickly as possible. Inform him or her that you have recently been vaccinated against Hepatitis A. Request that your doctor reports the allergic reaction to the Vaccine Adverse Reporting System.
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Traveling outside of USA and concerned about your health? Travel vaccinations are recommended for many destinations. Find out about the requirements and talk to a physician.