There is no specific treatment for acute hepatitis. Bed rest isn't always essential, although you may feel better if you limit your amount of physical activity. It is important to maintain an adequate intake of calories. Your doctor may recommend small, frequent high-calorie meals, with plenty of fluids. Alcohol should be avoided or limited in order to help the liver recover. If you are unable to eat or drink, you may be hospitalized.
Some people with chronic hepatitis B or C may benefit from medications that can slow the replication (reproduction) of the virus to decrease the amount of virus in the body. The risks and benefits of these medications should be discussed with your doctor.
With hepatitis B or C, your doctor may check blood periodically for a few months to watch for any continuing signs of inflammation in the liver. It isn't usually necessary to isolate people with hepatitis, but those who are close to someone with hepatitis should be aware of how the virus spreads. Hand-washing after going to the bathroom is very important.
There are a number of ways that governments and health professionals are fighting the spread of hepatitis. For example, there's an effective vaccination for hepatitis A. Global immunization programs exist against hepatitis B, and screening of blood donations is now common practice to check for hepatitis C. In Canada, hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for the entire population and is included as one of the primary series of vaccinations for infants. If you are travelling to countries where hepatitis is common, check with your doctor or travel medicine clinic to see if you are a candidate for hepatitis A or B immunization. There is no immunization against hepatitis C.
To prevent the spread of viral hepatitis, thorough hand-washing by medical personnel who come into contact with contaminated utensils, bedding, or clothing is critical. Health care workers should be vaccinated, as they are at higher risk for infection due to exposure to people who are infected.
While there are no effective treatments for liver cirrhosis, its progression can be greatly reduced by complete abstinence from alcohol. Caution should also be taken when considering the use of medications that can worsen liver disease. For example, people with cirrhosis should discuss with their doctor how much acetaminophen* they can take safely because acetaminophen is metabolized by the liver. Sometimes anti-inflammatory medications need to be avoided.
Treatment is mainly focused on complications and may include salt restriction to combat fluid retention, diuretic medications ("water pills" that help get rid of excess water in the body), at times a low-protein diet, and vitamin supplements such as vitamins K, A, and D. Itching may be controlled with special medications. Laxatives may be prescribed to speed up removal of toxins from the system. In some cases, a liver transplant may be necessary.
*All medications have both common (generic) and brand names. The brand name is what a specific manufacturer calls the product (e.g., Tylenol®). The common name is the medical name for the medication (e.g., acetaminophen). A medication may have many brand names, but only one common name. This article lists medications by their common names. For information on a given medication, check our Drug Information database. For more information on brand names, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2017. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/condition/getcondition/Liver-Disorders