There is an epidemic of Hepatitis E going around in Lahore. Every second patients are coming to hospitals with jaundice due to hepatitis E. All gastroenterologists, infectious disease specialists and physicians are alarmed by this situation. Hepatitis E is a waterborne infectious illness that is especially dangerous for pregnant women and children.
What is Hepatitis E?
Hepatitis E is a disease in which your liver is infected by a virus. Your liver get swollen in the result.
It is not a long term disease and do not cause any liver damage. People with hepatitis E usually get better in short time like few weeks. But it can be dangerous for people with weak immune system such as children, old age people, pregnant women and people who are ill
Hepatitis E Symptoms:
Usually no symptoms appear in this disease. If Symptoms do appear, they will show up around 2 to 3 weeks after you get infected. These symptoms include:
· Mild fever
· Abdominal pain
· Loss of appetite
· Yellowness of the eyes and skin
· Joint pains
· Feeling tired
· Dark pee
· Light coloured poop
Poop is the main cause that spreads this virus. You get infected to this virus if you eat or drink something that has been in contact with the poop of infected person.
Hepatitis E is more common in areas of world with lack of clear water and poor habit of hand washing. In the U.S water and sewage plants kill this virus before it gets in the drinking water supply, that is why this disease is less common there.
Another source of this virus is eating raw shellfish that comes from tainted water.
Other sources through which this virus is transmitted are:
· Ingestion due to undercooked meat or meat of an infected animal. Animals such as pigs or deer can also get infected of this virus and when you’ll eat meat of those animals, virus will transmit in you.
· Infected blood transfusion
· Vertical transfusion from pregnant woman to infant
Tour doctor will ask many questions related to your child’s medical history, family history, and details about symptoms your child is experiencing. Also tell your doctor if you travelled recently or come into contact with water that was contaminated by sewage.
Your doctor will take some blood tests and also stool test to confirm hepatitis E.
Mostly, no treatment is required for hepatitis E as it goes on its own in 4 to 6 weeks. However, to ease the symptoms you can follow these tips:
· Drink a lot of water
· Eat healthy food
· Take proper rest
· Avoid alcohol
Before taking any medicine, always talk to your doctor first as some medicine can harm your liver such as acetaminophen. Your doctor might keep you under observation, if you are pregnant. Doctor will prescribe you medicine to fight against virus if your condition is serious.
Virus of hepatitis E can not be prevented by vaccine. It is mostly common in under developed countries such as Asia, Africa, middle east and central America. These precautions should be followed strictly to prevent its spread:
1. Hand washing is the most important. Instruct your children and family members to wash their hands more often specially when they went out. Also wash them in and out of the kitchen, bathroom and before eating.
2. Don’t use water for drinking that you don’t know is clean.
3. Drink boiled water. Boiling is the only way to kill the virus. Even filtered water or mineral water is not dependable for drinking. Eating from restaurants is therefore very risky as you don’t know their water source.
4. Always eat fully cooked meat and avoid eating undercooked pork, raw shellfish and deer.