Several viruses can cause hepatitis, which is inflammation of the liver. These include hepatitis A, B, and C. A person can contract hepatitis A by consuming contaminated food and water.
In the United States, the
However, a person can contract hepatitis A from eating contaminated food.
This article looks at the link between hepatitis and what a person eats and drinks. It also discusses prevention strategies and explains what a person should do if they suspect that they have hepatitis.
The transmission of hepatitis B can occur through:
- contact with semen, blood, and other fluids
- using equipment, such as a needle or syringe, that has blood on it from someone who has hepatitis B
- sexual contact with someone who has the virus
- sharing personal care items, such as razors and toothbrushes
Hepatitis C spreads through blood. Needle sharing, contaminated blood transfusions, and using unsanitary medical equipment, such as needles or other devices, can all allow hepatitis C to spread from one person to another.
Hepatitis B and C transmission can also occur during childbirth and in healthcare facilities with insufficient infection control.
The Washington State Department of Health states that a person can come into contact with hepatitis A if they eat food or drink water that is contaminated with the feces of a person who has the virus.
The virus can, therefore, spread from a person who does not wash their hands after using the bathroom and then touches food.
The food itself can also be contaminated with hepatitis A. For example, people can contract hepatitis A if they eat oysters that farmers have harvested from sewage-contaminated water.
Although a person can contract hepatitis A from nearly any food or drink, some
- raw fruit or berries
- raw vegetables
The symptoms of hepatitis A include:
- dark urine
- pale stool
- abdominal discomfort
- loss of appetite
- jaundice, which is the yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes
It can take between a
A person should contact a doctor if they suspect that they have consumed contaminated food or drink. The doctor can test for the infection.
For those who are unvaccinated, a healthcare professional may administer postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) within
- the hepatitis A vaccine for those aged 1–40 years old
- immunoglobin that is specific to hepatitis for those who are not in the above age range
A person does not require PEP if they have had the vaccination or previously had hepatitis A.
There is no specific treatment for hepatitis A. People should consume plenty of fluids to replace those lost as a result of diarrhea and vomiting.
- washing their hands for 20 seconds using warm soap and water before handling raw foods
- washing their hands after changing diapers
- washing their hands after using the bathroom
People should also sanitize their kitchen using the following steps:
- Wash cutting boards, countertops, utensils, and the inside of the fridge walls and shelves.
- Sanitize the above using a solution consisting of 1 tablespoon of chlorine bleach to 1 gallon of hot water.
- Dry these areas using a clean cloth or paper towel.
Hepatitis A vaccine
A person can also get a vaccination for hepatitis A.
Other groups, such as men who have sex with men and those who travel internationally, should also get the vaccination.
A person should speak with a doctor to determine whether they require a vaccination.
A person can contract hepatitis A from consuming contaminated food or water. This can occur when a person with the virus prepares or touches food and drink after not washing their hands properly after using the bathroom.
To help prevent the spread of hepatitis A, people should ensure that they wash their hands and clean their kitchens thoroughly.
People should also speak with a doctor to check whether they require the hepatitis A vaccine.