How to recognise symptoms of hepatitis in children

Hepatitis is an inflammatory condition of the liver; it is contagious in nature, and can transmit from the mother to her newborn baby. Babies who suffer from Hepatitis can develop serious complications as they grow older

How to recognise symptoms of hepatitis in children
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Our liver performs several critical functions that have an effect on our metabolism, aids bile production, filtration of toxins from your body, breakdown of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins etc.

Hepatitis is categorised by its diverse forms according to the virus type, which are A, B, C, D, and E, which can be seen among children.

Hepatitis A

It is the most common condition amongst babies and children

Symptoms

  • Fever.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Constant fatigue.
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes.

Causes

  • It is caused due to the intake of contaminated fruits, vegetables, sea food, and other food sources.
  • Eating food made by an individual who hasn’t washed his/her hands properly.
  • Drinking contaminated water.

Prevention

Vaccination is recommended for children between 12-23 months of age, followed by a second shot at after every 6 months. The vaccine is also recommended for teenagers and young adults, who live in areas prone to the hepatitis A infection.

Hepatitis B

Symptoms

Symptoms shown by children who are infected with hepatitis B, show after 3 to 4 months, they are as follows:

  • Joint pain.
  • Pain in the stomach.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Jaundice.
  • Rash.
  • Expulsion of dark urine.
  • Fever.
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes.

Causes

  • Newborn whose mother is infected with hepatitis B.
  • Coming in contact with or exposure to blood infected with hepatitis B.

Prevention

Vaccinating toddlers and infants at the early stage is a sure way to prevent hepatitis B. Three doses are required a 0-1-6 month schedule, followed by a booster at 5 years.

Hepatitis C

Symptoms

  • Pain in the joints and muscles.
  • Fatigue.
  • Persisting high fever.
  • Yellowing of the eyes and skin.
  • Dark urine.

Causes

  • Amongst children, hepatitis C stems from mothers who have been infected with the virus, thus getting passed to their children during pregnancies.
  • Children affected with kidney failure, that are in need of dialysis.
  • Children who have blood clotting conditions such as haemophilia.

Prevention

Hepatitis C is best prevented by eliminating exposure; avoid the intake of contaminated food, water and avoiding contact with persons infected by the virus. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C.

Hepatitis D

Symptoms

  • Hepatitis D symptoms are very similar to those of hepatitis B.

Causes

  • Hepatitis D is not caused on its own and is imitative from hepatitis B infections.

Prevention

Similar to hepatitis B.

Hepatitis E

Symptoms

  • The symptoms of hepatitis E are much related to those of other hepatitis-type infections.
  • Some of the symptoms are nausea, vomiting and joint pain.

Causes

  • Hepatitis E is transferred from mothers to newborn babies during pregnancies.
  • Care should be taken to avoid coming into contact with hepatitis E in the first place.

Prevention

Proper hygiene and healthy lifestyle habits prevent hepatitis E. Hygiene habits such as washing hands properly, ensuring a fresh supply of water that is free from contamination, monitoring food sources and running quality checks before serving are ways of preventing contact with hepatitis E.

The author is the Head of Department of Gastroenterology and Endoscopy at S.L. Raheja Hospital, Mahim.