Hepatitis A

Planning your next vacation? Make sure you’re in the know about all the vaccinations you may need. Here we explain the signs, symptoms, treatments and vaccinations for hepatitis A.

What is hepatitis A and how do you catch it?

A virus causes hepatitis A, an infection of the liver, usually, spreads through an infected person’s stool. The illness is more likely to spread to those who inject drugs, same-sex male relationships, and regions of the world with poor sanitation.

Hepatitis A cases seem to be more prevalent in places with poor sanitation and food hygiene. The Far East, the Middle East, Central and South America, and portions of Africa are among them.

You can contract hepatitis A in a number of ways:

  • From someone with the infection not washing their hands thoroughly and preparing food which you eat
  • Washing hands in contaminated water and preparing food that you eat
  • Drinking contaminated water (including ice cubes)
  • Eating raw or undercooked seafood sourced from contaminated water
  • Being in close contact with someone who has the infection
  • Having intercourse with someone with the infection (particularly men)
  • Injecting drugs using contaminated equipment

The infection is at its most contagious stage in the two weeks before symptoms appear, up until about a week after the symptoms first show.

Signs and symptoms

Hepatitis A symptoms usually develop approximately four weeks after becoming infected, however some people don’t experience any.

Symptoms include:

  • Feeling tired
  • Generally feeling unwell
  • Pain in joints and muscles
  • High temperature
  • Decrease or loss of appetite
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Tummy pain in the upper-right area
  • Yellowing of skin and eyes
  • Dark urine and pale stools
  • Itchy skin

Symptoms usually subside within a couple of months. If you have symptoms, it’s always best to speak to your GP.

Vaccination

The hepatitis A vaccine isn’t routinely given because the risk is so low in the UK, but if you are travelling to a country with a risk of the disease, vaccination is recommended.

How long does hepatitis A vaccination last?

A booster is recommended after 6-12 months to provide protection for 25 years.

Travel & Immunisation Clinic

Signs and symptoms

Those who have picked up the cholera bacteria don’t always have symptoms, but these are some of the typical symptoms you should expect:

• Severe, watery diarrhoea

• Nausea

• Vomiting

• Stomach cramps

Cholera symptoms can occur after just after a few hours, but generally develop within a few days of picking up the infection. If untreated, dehydration from severe diarrhoea and vomiting can quickly take effect, causing the body to go into shock because of a big drop in blood pressure.

Prevention

If you are travelling to a country known to be affected by cholera, here are a few ways you can help protect yourself:

• Only drink boiled or sealed bottled water

• Avoid ice in your drinks and ice creams

• Wash (in safe water) or peel uncooked fruit and vegetables

• Avoid shellfish, seafood and salads

Practice good personal hygiene measures – always wash your hands in safe water before eating and visiting the bathroom

Vaccination

The risk to most travellers is very low and vaccination is usually only recommended in the following circumstances:

• Volunteers/aid workers/medical personnel in disaster relief situations where cholera outbreaks are likely

• Those travelling to work in slums/refugee camps or areas affected by natural disasters

• Those travelling to countries experienacing cholera outbreaks and where care with food and water is difficult or not possible

The drinkable cholera vaccine is given in two or three (depending on age) separate doses, taken from one to up to six weeks apart and completed at least a week before travelling.

Corporate Discount

We offer a 10% discount for our corporate customers and for all travellers in the charity sector. Whether you’re looking for corporate flu vaccinations or need travel vaccinations for your staff, our team of nurses and pharmacists can help. 

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