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Symptoms usually appear about 2 to 6 weeks after exposure to the virus. Possible symptoms include:
Tiredness and weakness
Pain in the stomach area
Loss of appetite
Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, dark urine, light-colored stools)
A sample of blood is taken to test for HAV. Other tests may be done to check the health of the liver.
There is no cure for hepatitis A. The virus will run its course. Treat symptoms as you would flu symptoms, including drinking fluids and getting plenty of rest. During recovery, avoid fatty foods. DO NOT drink alcohol, which can damage the liver. Also DO NOT take any over-the-counter medications without checking with your healthcare provider. The liver processes all medications, and certain medications can be harmful to the infected liver.
A person with hepatitis A can spread the virus to others, even before symptoms appear. He or she can continue to spread the virus for a few days after symptoms start. Take these precautions to prevent HAV from spreading:
Wash hands often, and always after using the bathroom or changing diapers and before preparing food or eating. Work up a good lather with soap and warm water. Scrub for at least 10–15 seconds, then rinse.
Avoid work and public areas until symptoms are gone.
Once you’ve had hepatitis A, you cannot get it again, so you don’t need the hepatitis A vaccine. But you should consider vaccination against hepatitis B, a more serious form of hepatitis.
Members of the household should be vaccinated against hepatitis A and B if they haven’t been already
Symptoms get worse instead of better
You have signs of dehydration: decreased urination; very dark urine; dry, sticky mouth
You have swelling in the hands, arms, feet, ankles, abdomen, or face
You bleed from the nose, mouth, or rectum or have bloody stools