This monsoon, prepare well to combat hepatitis!!

Monsoon is not only about the enjoyment, it comes with the deadly viruses and one must take precautions on the basics, writes Dr Ravi Gaur, COO, Oncquest Laboratories

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Dr Ravi Gaur, COO Oncquest Lab EDITEDAbout the Author: Dr Ravi Gaur, MD Pathology, is the Chief Operating Officer and Lab Director of Oncquest Laboratories, the largest Molecular Onco Pathology laboratory in India. He has 25 years plus experience in the field of Pathology and Health care management.He has recently been awarded for excellence in setting up a global standard molecular pathology lab in India by the ASSOCCHAM.

Around 60 per cent of hepatitis cases are reported during monsoon. Since Hepatitis A and E are water-borne diseases, there are higher chances that people sp with low immunity get affected by the disease during monsoons which is definitely avoidable with small precautions.

Hepatitis A and E, are caused by viruses that cause Inflammation of the liver and can lead to serious illnesses with multiple complications. The viruses are contagious and spread easily during monsoon, especially among the common among young children. You can possibly get them through contaminated food or water.

Monsoons play a negative role in serving as a breeding ground for these viruses leading to easy spread.

 General symptoms of Hepatitis

After acquiring the infection, it takes about 2- 8 weeks before any signs appear. Typically, the signs are visible after about 2 to 4 week. Initial symptoms are

  • Extreme tiredness & fatigue

  • Loss of appetite

  • Nausea/ Vomiting

  • Fever

  • Muscle pain/Bodyache

 Other symptoms which develop with time are

  • Dark colored urine

  • Yellowness in the skin (jaundice) and eyes.

  • Light-/white colored stools

  • Itching of skin

 People above 50 years of age or those suffering from the long-term liver disease may have a more serious disease called Fulminant Hepatitis A virus. The signs include bleeding , confusion, and tremors  etc. Acute liver failure is rare, occurring in less than 1 per cent of cases in Hepatitis A. Acute liver failure occurs more commonly with Hepatitis E with a case fatality rate up to 3 per cent. Pl consult your doctor immediately if you feel any of these symptoms

Simple measures to keep Hepatitis away include

  • Street-food is a big NO! Consume well cooked food

  • Avoid outside water. Keep adequate supplies of safe drinking water

  • Practice good hygienic and always wash your hands before having food.

  • Improve surrounding   sanitation with proper disposal of sewage within communities

  • A vaccine is also available for Hepatitis A, which is given in two doses, six months apart, and it offers 94 to 100 per cent protection against Hepatitis A.  Several vaccines are available internationally. Some are combined with the hepatitis B vaccine. All are similar in terms of how well they protect people from the virus and their side-effects. They have no serious adverse effects.

There is no specific treatment for symptomatic hepatitis A and E. Therapy is aimed at maintaining comfort and adequate nutritional balance, including replacement of fluids that are lost from vomiting and diarrhea.

People who become infected with hepatitis virus usually get better on their own, and generally do not need to be hospitalized. However, hospitalization is required for people with life-threatening disease from hepatitis, and should be considered for symptomatic pregnant women. Recovery from symptoms following infection may be slow and may take several weeks or months.