Monday, 22 June 2015

Hepatitis A: Always present but with low incidence...



Always present but with a low incidence…

Hepatitis A Virus is a typical concern when we are travelling especially to underdeveloped areas, rarely do we consider it to be a daily risk or worry in our lives.

After a recent concern in the area with a local restaurant food handler, concerned people have contacted me and voiced their questions.  I thought I would respond with this post.  It is my hope that this information below will be another helpful link that you can share with others.

Stay well and enjoy your summer! 

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis is an acute viral infection of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus.  The virus survives well in the environment – it can remain on hands for several hours, and in food kept at room temperature for much longer-and is relatively resistant to heat and freezing.  Water and food contaminated by sewage or faeces can carry the disease. 

Infections with the virus are often without symptoms in the early years of life.  Consequently it can be a hidden public health issue with few reported cases.

The incubation period of hepatitis A can last up to 50 days.  HAV is excreted in faeces for up to 2 weeks before the onset of symptoms and for at least one week afterwards.  Hepatitis A patients should be regarded as being infectious for a week following the onset of jaundice. 

The diagnosis is made by blood tests showing antibodies during the acute illness, which can last for 3-6 months after the acute illness.  Antibodies indicate past infection and therefore immunity, which may last for life. 

Symptoms

In young children HAV usually causes either an asymptomatic infection or a very mild illness without jaundice.  Patients with symptomatic illness typically have a 4-10 day initial period of systematic symptoms (fever, malaise, weakness and loss of appetite) and gastrointestinal (nausea and vomiting) symptoms.  Dark urine is usually the first specific manifestation of acute hepatitis A, followed a day or two later by jaundice and pale faeces.

The initial symptoms tend to lessen with the onset of jaundice, although the loss of appetite and weakness may persist; itching skin and liver pain due to an enlarged liver may follow. Once the colour of the stool returns to normal, the end of the disease process can be assumed.  The duration of illness varies but most patients feel better and have normal, or near normal, liver function tests within a month of the onset of the illness.  Complications of Hepatitis A are uncommon.  Hepatitis A does not usually cause chronic liver disease.  However, up to 15 % of cases with symptoms can last up to six months, and a similar percentage can be hospitalized.

Very urgent hygiene measures are essentials to prevent the spread of the disease and to contacts of the patient.

(Above excerpt taken from, I. Golden, Practitioner’s Manual of HP)

Homeopathic treatment can be aimed at supporting the liver itself.   Homeopathy is given based on the Law of Similars.  Assessment and observation of the existing acute symptoms is how homeopathy would be used in this type of case.  If someone is currently using homeopathy and has a chronic or constitutional remedy, it would be wise to use this remedy in most acute illnesses.  Depending on the person's pre-existing health and life-style the disease will manifest itself in varying degrees.  Different homeopathic remedies may be required through different stages of the disease of hepatitis. 

Some of homeopathy’s oldest remedies are specific for supporting liver affections or disease of the liver.  These remedies would be prescribed based on the individual assessment of each client by a professional homeopath.  In conjunction a herbal support for the liver may also be recommended, with dandelion root, milk thistle, ginseng and other bitter herbs for several months in order to assist the liver at a therapeutic level.  

Homeopathic Remedies in the acute stage:  

These remedies are used and matched to a patients symptom picture, based on the listed symptoms of the remedy.  

PHOSPHORUS:
Acute cases marked by fever with night sweats and marked soreness of the liver.  There is a loss of appetite and unquenchable thirst for cold drinks and ice.  Long stools.  Bleeding disorders, nosebleeds, vomiting of blood, or blood in the stools.  Dreamy, sympathetic people.  Can be close to state of collapse.  For all stages of hepatitis, acute forms, and chronic conditions when the symptoms match appropriately.  

CHINA:
For acute hepatitis and the beginnings of chronicity in liver dysfunction.  Tongue is yellowish and lips are dry.  Bitter taste in the mouth.  Everything tastes bitter, even water.  Liver and spleen swollen, tympanic abdomen.  Putty-like stools.  Flatulent bloating.  Debility from profuse exhausting discharges and loss of fluids.  Sever diarrhoea. Heat, perspiration and chill marked in fevers.  Drenching night sweats. 

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