What should parents know about Hepatitis A?

April 25th, 2018

There is a Hepatitis A outbreak in our part of the state. You have likely heard about it on the news. If your child is in K-3rd grade and up-to-date on vaccines, then your child has received the Hepatitis A vaccine. If your child is entering 4th, 6th, or 12th grade next year, then your child will need the Hepatitis A vaccine before starting school next fall. Even if your child isn’t in one of these grade levels, it is highly recommended that your child receive the vaccine. The two-dose vaccination is given 6 months apart.

 

Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver. Symptoms appear 15-50 days after exposure and may include abdominal pain, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dark urine, pale (clay-colored) stool, and jaundice (yellowing of skin and eyes). Hepatitis A is shed in stool and is spread in contaminated food, beverages, and ice through unwashed hands and person-to-person contact with people who are infected. People who are infected shed the virus for about three weeks before and after symptoms appear. In addition to vaccinations, hand washing and proper sanitation are also important in stopping the spread of the disease. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact your school nurse or health care provider.