Viral hepatitis is the most common cause of jaundice in our community. The disease manifests with yellowish discoloration of the eye and sclera which is called jaundice.
Types of viral hepatitis
Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E are the cause of this viral disease. Of all these, hepatitis E followed by hepatitis A is the most common cause of jaundice in our community. Hepatitis B & C usually occurs amongst high-risk individuals like nurses, doctors, paramedical staff, the patient receiving multiple transfusions, and the virus is transmitted through the parenteral route.
Before jaundice appears as a manifestation of viral hepatitis, these patients experience:
- Loss of appetite
- Body aches
- Nausea and vomiting
Over the next four to six weeks, the jaundice increases and the patient passes high colored urine, white stools, and may complain of itching. In uncomplicated situations, it takes up to 4-6 weeks for jaundice to settle down, gradually, and the patient starts passing normal color urine and stools. It is important for any patient who develops jaundice to contact a physician immediately, who would confirm the cause of jaundice by getting the Liver Function Tests done and profile of the tests confirm the diagnosis of viral hepatitis. Also, there are many other causes of jaundice that needs different approaches for medical management. After the confirmation of the diagnosis of viral hepatitis, some serological tests to confirm whether the hepatitis was caused by hepatitis A, E, B, or C.
If hepatitis A or E causes jaundice, the patient recovers completely in course of time. But if hepatitis B or C causes jaundice, it may take a longer time for recovery or it may progress to chronic liver disease. Once the diagnosis confirms viral hepatitis as a cause of jaundice, the patients need physician supervision, till complete recovery takes place. The patient needs no hospitalization and can be managed at home unless the patient is totally anorectic and has protracted vomiting.
There is no specific medication for viral hepatitis but the complete course. It is a self-limiting illness. The patient may take a normal diet with adequate fluid intake. If there is presenting nausea or any disliking for fats, the patient can reduce its intake. The jaundice episode of viral hepatitis usually resolves over 4-6 weeks. A patient needs hospitalization in case jaundice prolongs beyond 6 weeks.
Viral hepatitis usually occurs due to contamination of food and drinking water by hepatitis A and E. Therefore improving public health measures for sanitation and providing safe drinking water can prevent viral hepatitis. During an epidemic of jaundice, everyone should drink boiled water. For the prevention of hepatitis B and C infection, We must ensure to provide safe blood, always use sterile needles and syringes for administering medication. Also, immunize the high-risk population against hepatitis B infection by administering the hepatitis B vaccine.
For more information, please send us a message and we’ll get right back to you. You can also contact us directly and can speak with a member of our service team.