Symptoms of Hepatitis A include the following:
- Light-colored stool
- Dark-colored urine
- Yellow eyes and skin
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal cramps.
Dark urine and yellowing eyes and skin are the tell-tale signs of the illness. If you experience either of these symptoms, you need to get to a doctor as soon as possible.
People who are infected with the hepatitis A virus may not have any signs or symptoms. The elderly are more likely than children to have symptoms. Symptoms usually occur abruptly and may include: fever, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, light-colored stools, and dark urine. Another possible symptom, the yellowing of the skin and eyes, is called jaundice.
The first symptoms can appear from 15 to 50 days after the initial infection. The average length of time between infection and the first appearance of symptoms (this is called the incubation period) is about a month. Unfortunately, infected individuals are most contagious in the middle of the incubation period, weeks before there are any sign of symptoms. Sufferers are usually contagious for about a week after they become jaundiced.
Duration of Hepatitis A Symptoms
Symptoms usually last only one or two weeks, though they sometimes persist for as long as six months. Infected individuals are often chronically tired during recovery.
Dark urine and jaundice may be a sign of inflammation of the liver. If you or someone in your family experiences these symptoms, you should contact your physician. When hepatitis A affects the liver, it often requires hospitalization.
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