The acute stage of any disease may be confusing because it is relative and hepatitis happens not to be an exception to this situation. The acute stage of hepatitis may, therefore, be referred to as the first 6 months after the virus has entered the body of an infected person. The immune system of an infected person produces antibodies to the virus when there has been a reaction. This is usually detectable in the blood for a period of 3 to 12 weeks after the infection.
Since the body metabolism differs, it takes different periods from person to person for the virus to take total hold of the body and create antibodies. The acute period, which is often called the window period, has been classified this way because, in some persons, it takes up to 3 months for the antibodies to be discovered in a blood test.
It is, therefore, imperative, to say that if one suspects to have been recently infected, one should not wait long before having a test and when the test is done, an RNA or PCR test would be necessary. The essence of this kind of test is to detect the virus much sooner than the detection of antibodies, although, this is at a higher cost.
The symptoms to be experienced during the acute phase of hepatitis
Majority of infected persons do not experience symptoms during the hepatitis infection acute stage as only about 25 to 35 percent of people do, which even happens to be often non-specific. According to the CDC, an average person would experience noticeable symptoms within 6 to 7 weeks. The symptoms which may be experienced ranges from mild to severe ones like:
- Loss of appetite
- Joint pain
- Abdominal pain
- Dark urine
- Jaundice or yellowing of the eyes
- Light-colored feces, etc.
The transmission of Acute Hepatitis
Contacts that are direct may be a means through which hepatitis is spread and they include certain bodily fluids like blood and semen. One is on a very safe side if he or she engages in the following activities since the infection cannot be transmitted via these mediums:
- Sharing of cups and other utensils
- Holding of hands
- Staying beside an infected person who coughs and sneezes
The above activities cannot lead to the transmission of acute hepatitis. Be that as it may, certain kinds of persons are at the risk of contracting the disease. Some of them include:
- Children who are born to mothers infected with hepatitis
- Persons who have been exposed to piercing with unsterile objects while getting a tattoo
- Healthcare personnel who have been stuck with needles in the course of discharging their duties with infected patients
- Persons who are undergoing haemodialysis
- Sexually active people with multiple partners who have failed to also use any form of protection like dental dams and condoms.
- People who belong to a family with a long history of hepatitis and yet live together
- Persons who have had a transfusion of blood or organ transplant before 1992
Facts about the acute stage of Hepatitis
Some recurring facts exist as it is not yet known why some patients clear the virus and others do not at the acute stage. Various facts, therefore, exist on the chances of clearing hepatitis at the acute stage. They are:
- Women happen to manage the infection better than men
- The younger a hepatitis patient is, the better the chance of clearing the infection at the acute stage
- Certain persons with unique genetic make-ups tend to clear the virus more than others.
- Those who experience symptoms at the early stage of the infection tend to knock it out more than those who do not experience any.
- Infected patients who became positive via blood transfusion tend to carry a higher viral load.
Diagnosis of acute hepatitis
The acute state of hepatitis may be diagnosed via a laboratory test when a physical examination is carried out. In doing this, the medical history of the patient would be needed to know whether there have been likely causes or reoccurrence of hepatitis. The following tests may, therefore, be done if one has acute hepatitis or it is suspected:
- Surrogate markers
- Nucleic acid tests
- Blood test
- Liver biopsy
Treatment of acute hepatitis
The treatment of acute hepatitis varies and is determined by the types as the case may be. HAV, for instance, is managed by close monitoring to preclude further damage since there is no available therapy. Same applies HBV, but different from Hepatitis C, D, and E.
Medical attention is advised to be sought as soon as one notices any of the symptoms in order to effectively manage it. The earlier the better is what should come to mind on the subject of acute hepatitis.