Hepatitis in Children


What is hepatitis?

Hepatitis is a swelling of the liver that can strike children and grownups. Hepatitis viruses A, B, and C are the most common causes, but hepatitis D and E viruses also exist. More hardly ever, hepatitis is brought on by bacteria, parasites, an inherited condition, or specific medications.

You can have hepatitis without any symptoms. In reality, the older you are, the more likely you are to have symptoms– making children and children the least most likely to show signs of the disease.

If you have hepatitis symptoms and recuperate totally and are not contagious, you had severe hepatitis. Somebody with chronic hepatitis, on the other hand, continues to be transmittable and may have a variety of complications, including liver damage, liver failure, and liver cancer, depending on the type of hepatitis and the health of the infected person.

There’s no medication for severe hepatitis. If a child has chronic hepatitis, depending on the age of the child and the kind of chronic hepatitis, the doctor might suggest medication for it.

What is hepatitis A?

This form of the hepatitis virus is carried in stool and spreads quickly from person to individual. For instance, your baby could contract hepatitis A by putting his hand in his mouth after touching something polluted with the stool of somebody who has the virus.

Hepatitis A is spread under unsanitary conditions. It can likewise be transmitted through polluted water or food. Outbreaks occur sometimes in day care centers and other places where children play together. Since the majority of children who become infected do not reveal signs of disease, researchers have no idea how typical the infection is.

How would I know if my baby had hepatitis A?

In major cases of infection, symptoms consist of fever, tiredness, loss of appetite, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, dark-colored urine, and jaundice. These symptoms usually last from 2 weeks to 2 months, though they can persist longer. A lot of children infected with the infection program no signs of health problem, though. If you believe your baby may have been exposed to the virus, talk with his doctor.

How to prevent hepatitis A infection?

Yes. The hepatitis A vaccine will secure your child for about 20 years. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) now advises that kids get the hepatitis A shot in two doses at least 6 months apart between their first and 2nd birthdays (ages 12 to 23 months).

Diligently cleaning your hands with soap and warm water– especially after using the toilet, altering diapers, and before preparing food– helps avoid the spread of the disease. Wash your baby’s hands, too.

What happens if my baby’s exposed to hepatitis A?

If you believe your baby might have been exposed to hepatitis A (since a relative or good friend has the disease, for instance), he should get an injection of immune globulin (a.k.a. gamma globulin), which includes antibodies versus the infection– preferably within seven days of exposure, but the earlier the much better.

The protective impact of immune globulin lasts for numerous months. Your baby will still need to get the hepatitis A vaccine after he turns 1.

What is hepatitis B?

The hepatitis B infection is transferred through contact with blood and other body fluids. Adults normally get the disease through unguarded sex and intravenous substance abuse, however brand-new babies can get hepatitis B from being exposed to the virus in their mom’s blood and vaginal fluids during childbirth. (It’s unusual for the virus to cross the placenta during pregnancy.)

Ninety percent of children under the age of 1 and 30 percent of children between the ages of 1 and 5 who are infected with hepatitis B develop chronic infections. By contrast, just 6 percent of infected adults develop the chronic type of the disease.

What are the symptoms of hepatitis B in babies?

The majority of infected infants show no signs of disease, but symptoms of hepatitis B include fever, fatigue, vomiting, loss of appetite, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes).

symptoms of hepatitis B in babies

If you had hepatitis B when you gave birth, your baby ought to have gotten both the hepatitis B vaccine and an injection of immune globulin, which consists of antibodies versus the virus. If that’s the case, he must be checked when he’s about 9 to 15 months old to make sure the vaccination worked.

Can hepatitis B be prevented?

Yes. The AAP advises that infants consistently be immunized against hepatitis B. The hepatitis B shot will protect your child for about 15 years.

Mothers are normally tested for hepatitis B during pregnancy. Infants born to moms who are devoid of hepatitis B can be provided the first shot in between birth and 2 months, the second in between 1 and 4 months, and the third in between 6 and 18 months.

However if there’s any possibility that a baby’s mom is infected with hepatitis B, he’ll get his first shot within 12 hours of birth, along with an injection of immune globulin, which contains antibodies versus the virus. Then he’ll get the 2nd shot at 1 to 2 months, and the 3rd shot at 6 months.

What is hepatitis C?

The majority of people infected with hepatitis C have no symptoms and do not recognize they have the disease till liver damage is found after several years.

The infection is transferred through direct contact with human blood and other body fluids. Grownups may get hepatitis C from intravenous substance abuse. It’s also possible, though less common, to get hepatitis C from sexual contact with an infected individual.

A baby can get hepatitis C from his infected mom, however it’s uncommon. Hepatitis C is difficult to diagnose in a baby, and there’s no vaccine for it.


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