The signs and symptoms of hepatitis can be different for each individual because it depends on the type of hepatitis, age and medical history. The most common symptoms that will show with most forms of hepatitis are flu-like symptoms, headache, muscles aches, nausea, fever and jaundice. Jaundice is the yellowing of the skin and eyes.
Hepatitis A Symptoms
Young children usually won’t have any signs of hepatitis A. Along with the flu-like symptoms, a patient may have dark urine and abdominal pain. Fatigue, nausea and vomiting and loss of appetite are all associated with hepatitis A. Joint pain and clay-colored bowel movements may also be present. With hepatitis A, it may just be a mild illness that lasts a few weeks, or it could be a severe illness that can last for several months. You should make an appointment with your doctor if you have any of the signs, or if you have recently come into sexual contact with someone who has it.
Hepatitis B Symptoms
In early stages of the disease, people may show no signs at all. Hepatitis B can range from mild to sever. Signs may not appear until one to four months after you’ve been infected. Like type A, dark urine, abdominal pain, and weakness or fatigue are symptoms. A preventive treatment that can reduce the risk of infection can be given within 24 hours of being exposed to the virus. Hepatitis B can come from sexual contact, sharing of needles, or accidentally coming into contact with a needle that carries it.
Hepatitis C Symptoms
Symptoms of hepatitis C usually don’t present themselves until later into the course of infection. In the early stages of the disease signs can include fever, fatigue, nausea, and jaundice. Chronic infection can lead to more symptoms later on such as, bleeding easily, itchy skin, weight loss, and spider-like blood vessels on the skin (spider angiomas). Other signs can be fluid accumulation in the stomach, swelling in the legs, and confusion or drowsiness. Most of the symptoms are a result of liver damage caused by the virus.
If you notice any of the sign or symptoms listed, be sure to contact a doctor.
Hepatitis Vaccinations for Nurses
If you are studying to become a nurse, you may be required to receive a TD, MMR and the Hep B series vaccinations. The hep B is a series of 3, but you don’t have to have all three done before you start. This is true for both traditional coursework and those pursuing CNA online classes. If you have already had the hep B series, you’ll need to submit proof to avoid re-vaccination. This holds true for the MMR as well. If moving from a CNA to RN position, you should already have all the required vaccinations as part of your CNA course work. Contact your local Health Department for more information or to validate your vaccinated status.