As ‘Zindagi unlocks’ kids may be at a higher risk of contracting Hepatitis A: Be prepared, vaccinate them in time
The Pandemic has left children stuck at home for long, finding enjoyment only in e-learning, playing video games, using mobile phones and watching TV. There has been little opportunity for them to interact and play with friends outdoors.
But life is gradually opening again, unlocking again. It’s a joyous time for kids especially as they are stepping out more now and indulging in activities important for their growth and well-being. While it’s wonderful to get back to life as we knew it, it’s extremely important for parents to keep an eye out for not just their safety from COVID19 but also from other life-threatening diseases.
Going out for kids will also mean indulging in their favourite outside food. But this also means that there is an increased risk of food and water-borne diseases. One such disease is jaundice, commonly caused by the Hepatitis A virus, one that needs urgent attention.
Watch this video to know why
What is Hepatitis A?
Hepatitis A is a contagious liver infection that is caused by the Hepatitis A virus. Its severity can range from a mild to severe illness which can last from a few weeks to months. While this liver infection is generally considered mild and common among children, it can be serious in some cases . Among older children and adults, infection usually causes more severe symptoms, jaundice being one of them occurring in more than 70% of cases.
Hepatitis A infections do not cause chronic infections; however, they can be severe . If left unchecked, in some cases, it can lead to severe complications like acute liver failure and even death in rare cases. Outbreaks occur worldwide, especially in areas with poor sanitation .
Therefore children, who are not previously exposed to this virus because of living in more hygienic urban areas may evade Hepatitis A infection in early childhood leaving them at risk of severe infection in adolescence and adulthood.
How does it spread?
Hepatitis A spreads through ingestion of water and food contaminated with the Hepatitis A virus. It is primarily transmitted from person to person by the faecal-oral route or when someone ingests contaminated water, or foods that have not been prepared, stored or served in a hygienic manner .
Watch out for these signs and symptoms:
Not everyone who is infected has symptoms. Symptoms (if developed) usually appear within 2 to 6 weeks after infection. They can include:
Loss of appetite
Remember, not everyone who is infected will show all the symptoms. In few cases, symptoms can last for as long as 6 months.
Can it be prevented?
Yes, Hepatitis A infection can be prevented. The easiest ways to protect against hepatitis A are by :
1. Drinking clean water and cooking food well. Additionally, it is advisable to avoid raw meat and shellfish, and wash fruits and vegetables in clean water.
2. Wash your hands with soap and water after using the toilet, changing a baby’s nappy and before cooking food and eating.
3. Ensuring a hygienic environment in and around your home.
4. Vaccination. This helps to protect your child against Hepatitis A.
Treatment for Hepatitis A?
There is no specific treatment for Hepatitis A and hence it is wise to prevent the disease by taking preventive measures. Vaccination is a reliable way to prevent Hepatitis A .
When can Hepatitis A vaccination be given?
Vaccination against Hepatitis A can be given to children aged one year and above. Therefore, global and national health authorities like WHO and the Indian Academy of Pediatrics recommend Hepatitis A vaccination to all eligible children .
Consult Pediatrician for more information.
With this much-needed awareness around Hepatitis A, parents should seek the help of their doctors regarding prevention through vaccination to protect their kids.
What can we do at The child plus children’s hospital?
As we know that prevention is better than cure always be vigilant to prevent illness before they start. We are expert at diagnosis and treatment of paediatric and childhood illness. Feel free to contact us if any help regarding your child’s health. We are happy to help.