With Louisville’s biggest weekend of the year just a few days away, the Hepatitis A outbreak sweeping through Jefferson County and the surrounding areas has many concerned. While Hep A is usually seen in a handful of people every year, the numbers this year are far higher than normal.
Hep A is different than Hepatitis B and C in that it is not a lifelong illness. Hep A will clear up in time, usually within weeks, but sometimes months. Health experts around Louisville are recommending that anyone who is healthy, and over age 1, should get vaccinated.
While many symptoms of Hep A are common symptoms for a variety of illness, it is important to know what to look for with Hep A in terms of symptoms.
- Loss of Appetite
- Abdominal Pain
- Dark Urine
- Light-Colored Stool
- Joint Pain
- Jaundice (yellowing of skin or eyes)
Washing your hands is the best way to prevent the spread of disease. Hep A is the same. The best way to prevent the spread of Hep A is to wash your hands, frequently, with soap and warm water. Hep A can be spread from fecal-oral transmission, washing your hands can essentially eliminate this possibility. When you cannot wash hands using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol will do.
Those who are either homeless or drug users, work closely with these populations, work in food service or health care are all at risk for transmitting Hep A. The best methods of prevention are washing hands and getting vaccinated. It is important to remember that you may carry the virus without showing any symptoms.
This school year Jefferson County Public Schools is requiring all students to get 2 doses of the Hepatitis A vaccine by the start of school. There is a 6 month waiting period between doses so it is important to get the first dose as soon as possible in order to be ready for school in August.
If you think you or a loved one may have Hep A, call your PCP and set an appointment. If you are interested in getting vaccinated, contact your PCP or pharmacist. You should always check with your insurance to see if you are covered and if you should head to a certain facility.
Park DuValle will be offering Hep A vaccines for the public starting Monday, April 30, 2018.