Hepatitis (Liver inflammation) relates to the inflammation of the liver. It is a disease that damages the liver which is one of the most important organs in our body.

Hepatitis is a severe condition that is marked by chronic inflammation in the liver. It can damage and destroy liver cells. Hepatitis is a major health concern because it often originates from a virus and is communicable (can be spread from your child to others). In some cases, liver failure or death can occur. However, not everyone who is infected will experience symptoms. Liver inflammation can be caused by several viruses (viral hepatitis), chemicals, drugs, alcohol, certain genetic disorders or by an overactive immune system that at times attacks the liver this condition is generally termed autoimmune hepatitis. Depending on the course, hepatitis can either be acute or chronic. When it comes to children, hepatitis can have many different origins or causes. A child can get hepatitis from exposure to a viral source or can even get it from the mother. In an exclusive interaction with Dr. Randhir Sud, Chairman, Gastroenterology, Institute of Digestive and Hepatobiliary Sciences, Medanta – The Medicity, we came across some of the vital points about the condition and how differently the symptoms may appear in the case of children.

What Is Hepatitis?

Hepatic (Liver) itis (inflammation) relates to the inflammation of the liver. It is a disease that damages the liver which is one of the most important organs in our body. It is an infectious disease caused by the hepatitis viruses- A, B, C, D, and E. Apart from its role in digestion, the liver has many other vital functions and hepatitis damages the structure of the liver resulting in derangement of liver function.

What Causes Hepatitis In children?

In the case of children, Hepatitis A and B are the most common type of hepatitis. The cause mainly comprises of the poor lifestyle unhygienic water and unhealthy food. How does a child get hepatitis? Hepatitis B is vertically transmitted from a mother to a child. These are the most common type of viral hepatitis that is spread through the faecal-oral route as a result of ingestion of contaminated food and water or through direct contact with an infectious person. The risk of infection is associated with poor sanitation and hygiene and a lack of safe water for consumption. Hepatitis B moves the person to person the same ways that HIV does through direct contact with infected body fluids. Hepatitis B and C are even more easily passed in fluids and needles than HIV. This can happen through sexual contact and by sharing needles (used to inject illegal drugs) that have been contaminated with infected blood. Even when infected people don’t have any symptoms, they can still pass the disease on to others.

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What Symptoms Should One Look Out For?

One of the most important things to keep in mind when it comes to hepatitis is to spot the symptoms as early as possible. Here are some of the common symptoms that one may experience.

  1. Abdominal pain accompanied by tenderness, especially in the upper right corner
  2. Extreme fatigue
  3. Jaundice symptoms
  4. Dark coloured urine
  5. Abdominal swelling which can sometimes be painful as well

Preventive Measures

Set up a daily routine for exercising at home by using a stepper, treadmill, or static cycle. You can also practice yoga as it is good for both the body and mind. If you are someone who does not exercise regularly, start with a brisk walk. Regular exercise can prevent weight gain, acid reflux, bloating, constipation and also helps fight stress and anxiety. At this point, make sure you increase the consumption of fibre in your diet by eating more fruits and vegetables like spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, beans, peas, and carrots. Consume a lot of fruits which are seasonal, along with salads, whole grains, pulses, and seeds. Make sure you get your dosage of hydration. Drink lots of water and other fluids such as juices, coconut water, and nimbu paani to keep yourself well-hydrated. Avoid aerated drinks like colas and excessive coffee as these can worsen the symptoms.

When to Call for Help?

If your child develops any of the symptoms listed above due to acute liver inflammation, immediately visit your pediatrician.

This post first appeared on The Health Site

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