Hepatitis: Can we do something?

May 19, 2019

Did you know a simple inflammation or infection in the liver can lead to damaging consequences! Well, today I  will be giving you brief information about hepatitis which commonly is seen to occur because of irritation or injury in the liver.

 

There are many causes of hepatitis. One of the primary cause for it to occur is due to a virus which can be acute ( lasting less than 6 months )  or chronic (ie more than 6 months). Acute hepatitis if not treated can evolve into chronic hepatitis further increasing the risk for liver failure.

 

Since it is a virus the person infected can easily transfer it to another person.

It is important for you to know what are the different type of hepatitis and what are the modes of its transmission.

There are 5  main types of hepatitis commonly referred as  A, B, C, D  and E. However, Hepatitis  B and C, in particular, are known to cause chronic diseases, epidemic and death of millions of people.

Hepatitis A is primarily transmitted through consumption of contaminated water or food.

Hepatitis B is caused through exposure to blood, semen and other body fluids.

Hepatitis C is caused by exposure to infected blood.

Hepatitis D is mostly seen in those patients who were infected with hepatitis B.

Hepatitis E  is likely to occur by exposure to contaminated water or food.

Symptoms of acute hepatitis include fatigue,  anorexia, nausea and vomiting.

 

A  few diet suggestions for those who are suffering from hepatitis.

Anorexia is most commonly seen in these patients and therefore,  foods that are liked by the patients should be given. However,  it is essential that food should be fat-free or low in fat.

A few suggestions for low-fat foods would be giving fruit juices, energy drinks, smoothies, clear soups, yoghurt, milkshakes etc.

It is mandatory that the person is well hydrated.

Foods to  exclude:

  • Cream,  fatty  cheese
  • Fried snacks
  • Fatty salad dressings.
  • Fatty fish
  • Spicy foods

At the same time, it is vital to avoid getting yourself infected. Hence, a few recommendations to decrease the incidence of hepatitis.

  • Hepatitis can be transferred through infected food or water hence, it is very important to boil water before drinking to kill the virus and have a freshly made homemade food.
  • Avoid junk especially from the street as the food may be prepared in unhygienic conditions.
  • Make sure that you wash your vegetables before cooking. For example, washing of green leafy vegetables.
  • It is also essential to get yourself vaccinated while visiting countries like Africa, Asia ( except Japan), Eastern Europe, Middle East, Central and South  America and parts of the Carribean.
  • Avoid sharing your razors with anybody.
  • It is very  important to  wash  your hands  after using the toilet to  avoid contamination of food by the germs
  • Avoid eating raw fish, shellfish or meat as they may have been grown in contaminated sewage water or an unhygienic place.
  • Avoid ingestion of water in pools.
  • Practice safe sex.  Use condoms safely and properly in one effective way to reduce the risk of infection.
  • A common concern among mothers with viral hepatitis is. Do they have a risk of getting it?                                                            Only if a mother is suffering from hepatitis B/ C or has a cracked and bleeding nipple only then breastfeeding needs to be stopped. Once the nipples have healed one can resume breastfeeding.

However,  it  also very  important to  know  what  won’t transmit the virus:

  • Sharing of forks, spoon or glass.
  • Holding Hands.
  • Hepatitis is not transferred by hugging.

Key Message:

The incidence of hepatitis can be prevented only if a few healthy practices are adopted by the individual.  Also, the country can try to adopt better sanitation practices.

References:

  • https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/Resources/Professionals/PDFs/ABCTable.pdf.
  • https://www.health24.com/Diet-and-nutrition/Nutrition-basics/Treating-hepatitis-with-diet-20120721
  • https://www.webmd.com/hepatitis/features/viral-hepatitis-8-self-defense-tips-for-travelers#1
  • https://www.hepmag.com/basics/hepatitis-b-basics/nutrition-exercise-hepatitis-b

 

Harsheen Chaudhary

Hi, I am Dietitian Harsheen. I have completed my Masters in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics. I am also a certified diabetes educator. Blogging is my passion and I love to share my piece of kno

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