Hepatitis A Vaccine

Hepatitis A is an infection of the liver that is spread from the faeces of an infected person. Although the virus is not common in the UK, it is in other parts of the world. Vaccination provides the best protection against the virus.

How can you get hepatitis A?

The infection is more common in parts of Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Central & South America.

The virus can be contracted from:

  • Drinking contaminated or unclean water
  • Eating food that hasn’t been washed or grown in clean water
  • Eating food that has been handled by an infected person
  • Close physical contact with an infected person, e.g. having sex and/or sharing needles

Symptoms of hepatitis A:

Symptoms of hepatis A include:

  • A high temperature
  • Flu like symptoms
  • Vomiting or feeling nauseous
  • Pain in your upper stomach
  • Diarrhoea or constipation
  • Pale yellow or grey poo
  • Dark brown urine
  • Itchy skin with hives
  • Yellow tint on the skin and eyes

How can I prevent getting hepatitis A?

The best way to prevent getting hepatitis A is through vaccination. The vaccination is not routinely offered in the UK as the risk of infection is low. However, Day Lewis Pharmacy offer the vaccine as part of our Travel Clinic.

It is recommended you are vaccinated against hepatitis A vaccination if you:

  • Are traveling to a country where hepatitis A is common
  • You have been in close physical contact with an infected person
  • You have long term liver disease
  • You have a blood clotting disorder
  • You are a male who has sex with males
  • Your job puts you at higher risk of infection, such as healthcare or sewage workers

Other ways in which you can reduce your risk include:

  • Washing your hands thoroughly before preparing and eating food
  • Drinking bottled water
  • Avoiding shellfish and uncooked fruit and vegetables
  • Using a condom during sexual intercourse

What should I do if I have hepatitis A?

If you have been infected with hepatitis A, there are some things you can do to ease the symptoms and prevent infecting others.

Do:
  • Limit contact with other people for 7 days after yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice) has started, or, 7 days after your symptoms started, if you’ve not had jaundice
  • Rest and drink plenty of water
  • Take painkillers after consulting with a GP or pharmacist
  • Keep your room well ventilated
  • Wear loose fitting clothing
  • Avoid hot showers and baths if you feel itchy
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after going to the toilet
Don’t:
  • Do not drink alcohol
  • Do not prepare food or drinks for others
  • Do not have sex without using a condom until you are no longer infectious
  • Do not share needles with others

How long am I infections?

You are usually infections for either:

  • 7 days after yellowing of the skin and eyes starts (jaundice)
  • 7 days after your symptoms started if you have not had jaundice

Where can I get the vaccination?

Selected Day Lewis pharmacies offer the hepatitis A vaccination privately, as part of our Travel Clinic. If you would like more information, speak to your local Day Lewis pharmacist today.

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