Hepatitis A Vaccine: Things You Need to Know
What is hepatitis A?
Hepatitis A is a serious liver disease caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV). The virus is found in the feces of infected people. The hepatitis A virus is spread when invisible particles of feces (poop) get into your mouth. You can get hepatitis A by eating contaminated food or water, during sex, or just by living with an infected person. If you get infected with hepatitis A, your skin and eyes can turn yellow. You can get very sick for weeks and may need to be hospitalized, and even die. Some people don't feel sick, but they can still spread the virus to others. Hepatitis A can affect anyone.You are more likely to be infected with the virus if you travel or work outside, have chronic liver disease, use illegal drugs, have sex with an infected person, or care for a recently arrived unvaccinated child from a country where hepatitis A is common.
Vaccination is the best way to prevent hepatitis A.
Do I need the hepatitis A or B vaccines?
You should get the hep A vaccine if you:
Are traveling to a country with a high rate of the disease
Have a blood clotting disorder, like hemophilia
Are a man who has sex with other men
Do my children need the vaccine?
Yes. All babies should be vaccinated for hepatitis A at age 1.
What are the side effects of the vaccine?
Most people don't have any. You may feel sore and notice some redness at the injection site.
Who shouldn't get the vaccine?
The hepatitis A vaccine should not be given to children under 1 year old. Don't get either the A or B vaccine if you've had a severe allergic reaction after a dose of the vaccine, or if you're allergic to any of their ingredients. Talk to your doctor if you have severe allergies.