Viral Hepatitis: Understanding a Serious Liver Disease


Vaccines have been one of the best inventions ever in the world of medicines. And why not? An ounce of prevention is indeed worth a pound of cure, rightly said by Benjamin Franklin. This preventive vaccination has not only saved the lives of children but that of adults too.

Unfortunately, only 44% of children get vaccinated in India while the rest do not receive this privilege at all. Well, that’s altogether a different issue we face today. Nonetheless, vaccination has protected us from dreadful diseases like Polio, Measles, Diphtheria, Pertussis (whooping cough), Rubella (German measles), Mumps, Tetanus, Rotavirus, etc. One such disease is Hepatitis, affecting 300 billion living people worldwide.

To increase awareness about the viral Hepatitis, WHO observes 28th July of every year as World Hepatitis Day. This year, the WHO theme is “Hepatitis-Free Future.” As part of awareness, we must understand what Hepatitis means?

  • Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. The liver is the chemical laboratory of the body. We cannot live without a functioning liver. It performs various functions such as food and drug metabolism, digestion, storage and production of essential nutrients, protection against infections, breakdown of waste products, and detoxification of poisons.
  • The liver has fantastic healing capacity. However, Hepatitis becomes chronic and can cause life-threatening conditions such as cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer.

Common Causes of Hepatitis are:

  1. Infections: Viruses viz. Hepatitis A, B, C, D and E, other viruses, bacteria, and parasites
  2. Alcohol
  3. Toxins: Various drugs, chemicals, poisons and herbs
  4. Fatty Liver Disease: Excessive fat deposition in the liver due associated with obesity and high lipid levels
  5. Autoimmune: The body’s immune system attacks the liver.

Is Hepatitis Avoidable?

Yes, it can be prevented. Following are some tips to reduce the risk of Hepatitis:

Hepatitis A & E, other water and food borne infections
  • Ensure that you drink safe water.
  • Avoid roadside exposed food items.
  • Cover food items to prevent contamination from houseflies.
  • Wash raw vegetable items well before eating.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly before eating.
  • Cook your food well.
  • Vaccination for hepatitis A and typhoid can be taken with your doctor’s advice.
Hepatitis B, C and D
  • Avoid exposure of bare skin and mucosa to body fluids of others.
  • Practice safe sex. Do make use a condom.
  • Safe blood transfusion.
  • Follow safe injection practices.
  • Hepatitis B vaccine can be taken with your doctor’s advice.
  • Screening of pregnant women and treatment to prevent mother to child transmission.
  • Avoid alcohol. It not only damages your liver but almost all systems in body including heart, brain, pancreas and nerves. It is also a risk factor for many cancers.
  • If you still want to consume it, limit your intake. Talk to your doctor about it.
  • Do not take medicines on your own.
  • Always follow the dose and duration prescribed by the doctor for any medicine.
  • Control your exposure to chemicals at workplace. Follow the safety rules diligently.
  • Do not take herbal preparations and nutritional supplements without consulting your doctor. Everything herbal is not safe.
  • Keep all medicines and chemicals away from children to prevent accidental ingestion.
Fatty Liver Disease
  • Reduce weight if overweight or obese.
  • Maintain optimum weight.
  • Control your blood sugar, blood pressure and lipid levels
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Have a nutritious and well-balanced diet.
  • Avoids food items high in sugar and fats.
  • Regular health checkups as per advice of your doctor.
  • Since the cause is not known, it is difficult to prevent it.

Vaccination for Prevention of Hepatitis

Currently, effective vaccinations are available for Hepatitis-A and Hepatitis-B. However, they must be given under proper medical supervision.

The Hepatitis-B vaccine schedule is as follows:

Age Group Dose Time Description
Newborn child

(As per Government of India Immunization Schedule)

First dose At birth or as early as possible within 24 hours Hepatitis-B vaccine
Second dose 6 weeks In form of pentavalent vaccine (Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Hemophilus Influenza Type B and Hepatitis-B)
Third dose 10 weeks
Fourth dose 14 weeks
Adult First dose

Hepatitis-B vaccine
Second dose 1 month after first dose
Third dose 6 months after first dose

The Hepatitis-A vaccine schedule is as follows:

Age Group Dose Time Description
Children First dose At 1 year Hepatitis-A vaccine
Second dose 12 months after first dose
Adult First dose

Hepatitis-A vaccine
Second dose 6 – 12 months after first dose

If any vaccination is missed, immediately check with the pediatrician or concerned doctor to know the best time to get it done. Vaccinations are needed for both children and adults. Hence, remember to consult your pediatrician or doctor to get vaccinated as per recommendations. In case of any emergency caused to Hepatitis or any other dreadful disease, one must call an emergency ambulance service from Ziqitza HealthCare for emergency care.

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