Hepatitis is defined as inflammation, irritation, or infection of the liver, a very important organ found on the right side of the abdomen. Because it is important? because the liver removes toxins from the blood, manufactures bile (digestive juice) and regulates glucose, hormones ... Apart from affecting the liver, childhood hepatitis can have many other causes, from pharmacological to tumor, although the The main ones are infectious.
The most common form of infectious hepatitis is secondary to colds. Since such inflammation is generally unnoticed, it is not taken into account. But if we did an analysis on all children with colds, we could verify it.
Hepatitis causes inflammation of the liver causing symptoms such as fatigue and tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea or fever. But that does not mean that the child with these symptoms has hepatitis. The only way to see that a patient has a swollen liver is to do a blood test. Hepatitis produces an increase in proteins called transaminases. Only in this way is the diagnosis given.
We will briefly comment on some of the specific hepatitis, how it is spread, and some symptoms:
1. Hepatitis A. It is a common form of hepatitis in childhood in developing countries. In our environment it is seen occasionally. It is spread by the fecal-oral route. It occurs as an acute gastroenteritis (fever, vomiting, diarrhea), but is accompanied by jaundice. Jaundice is the yellow tint of the skin and mucous membranes. It is produced by the increase in bilirubin in the blood. Furthermore, it is very typical for patients to 'urinate the color of coca cola'.
It is a self-limited disease. No specific treatment is necessary, although we must have careful hand hygiene. When there are several cases in the same school, it is indicated to vaccinate all children against hepatitis A. Similarly, it is indicated to vaccinate family members.
2. Hepatitis B. It is rare in childhood. The most common route of infection in children is through the placenta, and occurs in children whose mother is infected with this virus. It tends to become chronic. It can be prevented by starting the vaccination against the virus and administering the child specific gamma globulin (defenses).
3. Hepatitis C. It is rare in childhood. The route of infection is not fully known. There is talk of the parenteral route (contact with blood from an infected person) and the sexual route, but surely there are more routes that are unknown. There is no effective prevention strategy.
4. Other hepatitis. In childhood, it is common for the liver to become inflamed coinciding with processes such as infectious mononucleosis (kissing disease), and other similar conditions (infection by cytomegalovirus, toxoplasmosis, chickenpox, herpes, HIV, etc.)
Having hepatitis does not imply that you have to follow a special diet. The only common precaution is to avoid taking some medications that can accumulate in the liver (such as paracetamol) for a minimum of 3 weeks.
The most common ways that children can get the Hepatitis A are:
- When they maintain contact with a person who carries the disease but does not wash their hands after using the bathroom. For example, in nursery schools and colleges, it is necessary to teach hygiene rules to children.
- By eating or drinking food or water contaminated with blood or stool that contains the hepatitis A virus. The most common sources are fruits, vegetables, shellfish, and water.
- When they eat food prepared by someone with the disease who has not washed their hands after using the bathroom.
- When they travel to another country without having the hepatitis A vaccine.
The most common ways that children can get the hepatitis B are:
- At the time of delivery through the mother.
- By a bite from an infected person.
- Through the blood, saliva or any other body fluid of a person with the disease.
- For sharing intimate objects such as a toothbrush, in addition to hugs, kisses, or being next to a person with the disease, who has sneezes or coughs.
The most common ways that children can get the hepatitis C are:
- At the time of delivery through the mother with the disease.
- Come into contact with the blood of a person with the disease
- Who receives injection or acupuncture therapies, with infected needles.
You can read more articles similar to How Hepatitis Affects Children, in the category of Children's Diseases on site.