About hepatitis A
Hepatitis A virus is a liver infection that can be prevented with a safe, effective vaccine. It is very contagious and can cause liver disease lasting a few weeks to a serious illness lasting months. Rarely, it causes death.
Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person unknowingly swallows the virus from objects, food, or drinks that are contaminated by small, undetected amounts of feces (poop) from an infected person. It also spreads through close contact with an infected person, such as during sex or while caring for someone who is sick with hepatitis.
In recent years, there have been outbreaks across the United States among people experiencing homelessness, people experiencing substance use issues, people who are currently or were recently incarcerated, and men who have sexual contact with men. Colorado currently is experiencing an outbreak among people with these risk factors.
Healthy habits also are important in preventing hepatitis A.
In addition to getting vaccinated:
Wash your hands with soap and water after going to the bathroom and before eating or making food.
Don’t have sex with anyone who has hepatitis A.
Don’t share towels, toothbrushes, eating utensils, food, drinks, smokes, or drug “works” with others.
Hepatitis A symptoms
If you have hepatitis A, you may not know it for two to six weeks after you got it, and you could unknowingly spread it to others during that time. That’s why vaccination is so important. Symptoms include yellow skin and eyes, fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark pee, and light-colored poop. If you think you might have hepatitis A, contact a health care provider as soon as you can.
Call CO-Help at 303-389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911 for answers in English and Spanish. You also can email them at COHELP@RMPDC.org
CDC hepatitis A web page.