3 Ways You Can Stop Hepatitis A
Certain areas of Kentucky are currently in the midst of a Hepatitis A outbreak that has infected more than 300 people across multiple counties and caused 3 fatalities. This is thought to be part of a larger outbreak, which started in California late last year and has also been effecting Michigan and Indiana. Both are reporting a larger number of hep A infections this year compared with 2017, and sadly both have suffered fatalities due to the infection.
Here’s what you need to know about hepatitis A and how you and your facility can stay healthy.
What is Hepatitis A?
Hepatitis A is an infectious viral disease that attacks the liver. It’s also highly contagious, spread through contact with an infected person or tainted food and water.
Symptoms include various flu-like aches and pains, including fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal and other pains. It’s usually short-term and doesn’t become a long-lasting chronic condition but it can get dangerous without proper treatment.
What Can I Do?
1. Get Vaccinated
Public health officials have emphasized that “all children, ages 1 year through 18, should receive the Hepatitis A vaccine, as well as adults who want to prevent themselves from an acute Hepatitis A infection,” as Kentucky Department of Public Health (DPH) acting commissioner Dr. Jeffrey Howard recently said in a statement.
To be fully vaxinated, patients must take two shots, at least six months apart. The first shot alone can provide protection. Following the vaccination schedule fully usually offers lifelong protection and is the best method of defence against Hepatitis A.
2. Use Proper Hand Hygiene
Proper hand hygiene could be considered a "do it yourself vaccine" for many. While not a substitute for getting your shots, it is still a very important step in breaking the chain of infection and keeping yourself and others safe.
3. Disinfect Effectively
Use a disinfectant product that has a kill claim against Hepatitis A. These claims are typically advertised right on the product label or technical sheet. Remember that disinfectants require not only a kill claim, but the proper amount of dwell time on a surface before that surface can be considered disinfected.
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