Acute Hepatitis

What is acute hepatitis ?

Acute Hepatitis is recent injury to the liver caused by a virus (Hepatitis A/B/C/E), alcohol, infections (dengue, malaria, typhoid) or certain drugs and medications.

What are the symptoms of acute hepatitis ?

In the early stages, a person may have tiredness, slight fever, nausea, poor appetite, and mild pain in the right upper abdomen. A few days after these symptoms, patients may develop jaundice in which there is yellowness of the eyes and dark urine. Symptoms usually last for 2 to 6 weeks.

What are the danger signs in acute hepatitis ?

Few patients with acute hepatitis develop signs of liver failure such as swelling of feet or belly, or mental confusion.  These patients are at high risk of complications including death. They need to be urgently hospitalized and may need a liver transplantation.

How is acute hepatitis diagnosed ?

Blood tests will help determine the cause and severity of the hepatitis. Further information may be obtained from ultrasound and other types of liver scans. In certain situations a liver biopsy may be required.

How is acute hepatitis treated ?

Specific medical treatment is not required for acute hepatitis caused by a virus infection. More than 99 percent patients recover. Alcohol should be completely stopped. Any offending drug should be stopped. Regular blood tests should be done to ensure that patient is improving.

Are herbal or Ayurvedic medicines useful in treating acute hepatitis ?

There is no scientific evidence that any form of Herbal or Ayurvedic medications are effective in treating liver disease. It is absolutely dangerous to use these medicines as some of them may contain undisclosed chemicals and heavy metals that may be toxic to the body.

What is the recommended diet ? 

There are no specific restrictions. Eat a well balanced diet with lot of milks. Food containing excess oil should be avoided. If alcohol is the cause, it must be stopped completely.

What other precautions are necessary ?

During the early phase of disease, patient requires rest. Once patient feels better, daily work and normal activities can be started. If you have hepatitis A or hepatitis E and your job involves food handling, your doctor will advise you on when it is safe to return to work. People with hepatitis B must inform their family and their sexual partners about it. Sexual and other close contacts will need to protect themselves by being vaccinated for hepatitis B.