Protecting Your Child From Hepatitis

You’ve probably heard the health warnings about the dangers of hepatitis, but what exactly is it and why is it so dangerous to your baby?

Hepatitis causes inflammation of the liver and may cause permanent liver damage if not treated properly. A healthy liver is essential to keeping the body regulated and to clean out toxins. There are many types of hepatitis but A, B and C are the most common.

By taking the proper precautions such as regular vaccinations and checkups, you can keep your baby free from this harmful disease.

The symptoms and prevention for Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is easily spread from person to person in stool. It is most commonly spread when conditions are unsanitary and in contaminated food and water. Outbreaks can occur in daycare centers and children’s play areas. Your baby could contract hepatitis A by touching something that is contaminated and then touching his or her mouth.

Symptoms
In many cases, babies don’t show any symptoms of the disease. However, some babies experience symptoms such as:

  • fever
  • vomiting
  • abdominal pain
  • dark colored urine
  • jaundice

 

Prevention

  • The hepatitis A vaccine (protection up to 20 years)
  • Regular hand washing, especially after changing diapers and before preparing food

The symptoms and prevention for Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is transmitted by having unprotected sex and using unclean needles. However, babies can get the disease through blood and vaginal fluids during birth if the mother is infected.

Symptoms
In most cases, there are no symptoms of the disease. However, some may experience:

  • fever
  • fatigue
  • vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • jaundice

 

Prevention

  • Getting tested at 9 to 15 months of age
  • Receiving first vaccination between birth and 2 months
  • Receiving second vaccination between 1 and 4 months
  • Receiving third vaccination between 6 and 18 months
  • Testing for mothers during pregnancy

 

For more information on hepatitis visit:
The Baby Center
KidsHealth

Free Prenatal Classes: Let us get you ready for parenthood with our free prenatal classes. We cover information such as over-the-counter medications, immunizations, feeding schedules and more. Classes are held on the third Thursday of every month at 6 p.m. or you can request a private appointment.

To learn more about free prenatal classes visit the PCRR website

 

About the Author

Dr. Katalenas

Dr. Katalenas is a pediatrician and owner of The Pediatric Center of Round Rock and the author of the book "The Step Up Diet: From Scratch… The Quality, Quantity, and Timing Solution to Childhood Obesity", a guide to healthy cooking and eating for busy families.