Hepatitis is a viral infection that causes inflammation in the liver. There are three types of the hepatitis virus: A, B, and C. Although these diseases are different, they typically cause similar symptoms such as fever, stomach pain, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, dark urine, and jaundice. The incidence rate of all types of hepatitis has been on the rise over the last 20 years, and while hepatitis A and B have vaccinations, hepatitis C is still without one. Therefore, it’s important to make sure you are vaccinating against hepatitis.
Hepatitis A Vaccination
Hepatitis A is transmitted through infected feces, specifically consuming foods that are contaminated with the virus. However, hepatitis A can also be transmitted via anal sex. Almost 20,000 people contract hepatitis A annually, but most go into remission within six months. Liver damage and failure are rare with hepatitis A.
There is a hepatitis A vaccine, which can be administered as soon as children turn two, is effective for up to 20 years and is covered by most health insurance coverages. People who should get vaccinated for hepatitis A are children, people who travel frequently and internationally, gay males, and those who use drugs regularly.
Hepatitis B Vaccination
Hepatitis B is spread via bodily fluids, resulting in up to 40,000 new cases every year. The primary ways hepatitis B is transmitted include sharing needles and sexual contact. Just as with hepatitis C, hepatitis B can also be passed onto a child at birth.
Since there is a vaccination available, it is especially important for children, intravenous drug users, people with multiple sex partners, inmates, medical professionals, and people who travel internationally to get vaccinated for the virus. Hepatitis B vaccination is needed to be repeated three times with set time frames apart. Similar to hepatitis A, most health insurance plans cover the expenses of the vaccination.
Hepatitis C Vaccination
Hepatitis C is spread via blood, affecting nearly 30,000 people every year. As hepatitis C can be asymptomatic until there is serious liver damage, in most cases, the virus becomes chronic and can lead to liver diseases like cirrhosis or even liver cancer without treatment. Hepatitis C has an unstable nature compared to hepatitis A and B, which is why there is still no vaccination for it.
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