January 10,2020/ admin
Everything You Need to Know About Pediatric Hepatitis
The liver performs almost 500+ different functions. It is one of the largest organs of the human body and undoubtedly significant to proper body functioning. Its name itself synonymizes how important it is for a person’s life.
The organ actually works behind the scene and acts as a chemical processing factory. It changes most of the food that a person eats into stuff that his/her body can use, and it gets rid of toxins that are harmful to the body.
As long as a liver stays healthy, it is easy to overlook it – however, there some kinds of liver diseases, infections that can harm the organ, which impairs its functioning. In worst-case scenarios, the person may end up needing a liver transplant to stay alive. Today we take a look at a specific form of the liver issue – pediatric hepatitis.
Let us deep dive into what pediatric hepatitis is, its symptoms, causes, and treatments.
What is Pediatric Hepatitis?
Pediatric hepatitis is an inflammation or irritation that can result in liver cell damage and destruction. It is a concern because it often instigates from a virus and is infectious. It means it can quickly spread from one child to another.
In some cases, liver failure or death can occur. But, not every infected kid will experience the same symptoms.
Signs and Symptoms of Hepatitis in Kids
Generally, children do not have symptoms when they have liver infections. However, when liver disease becomes chronic, it shows some signs and symptoms as per their types. Usually, there are five types of hepatitis.
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
- Hepatitis D
- Hepatitis E
The most common hepatitis symptoms in children are as follows.
- Dark urine
- Sore Muscles
- Stomach pain
- Yellow skin or eye whites are called jaundice
- Pale or clay-coloured stool
- Flu-like symptoms
- Low-grade fever
- Loss of appetite
- Stomach pain or discomfort
- Aching joints
- Being extra tired
What Causes Hepatitis in Children?
Hepatitis in children has various origins or causes. The most common source for it is exposure to a viral source.
1) Hepatitis A – It is the most common type of hepatitis spread by faecal-oral contact. It can also spread through faecal-infected food and water.
Risk Factors for Hepatitis A
- Exposure to contaminated water
- Consuming food made by an infected person who did not wash his/her hands thoroughly after using the bathroom.
- International travel to regions where hepatitis A is common
- Outbreaks occur in a child in child-care centers when they are in diapers.
- Children having a blood-clotting disorder
- Kids with chronic liver diseases
2) Hepatitis B – Hepatitis B is a more severe infection. It usually spread when blood from an infected person enters in child’s body.
Risk Factors for Hepatitis B
- Children born to mothers who have hepatitis B
- Kids who need dialysis for kidney failure
- Children live in a house where a person is infected with the virus.
- Children who have a blood-clotting problem
3) Hepatitis C – Generally, hepatitis C can occur through contact with infected blood. Moms can pass this disease to their babies during pregnancy.
Risk Factors for Hepatitis C
- Kids with a blood-clotting problem
- Children suffering from kidney failure and need dialysis
- Children born to mothers having a hepatitis C virus
4) Hepatitis D – This type of hepatitis can only happen when a child has hepatitis B and can occur at the same time as hepatitis B infection. This type of hepatitis cannot be spread from a mom to her baby when she is pregnant.
5) Hepatitis E – This type of hepatitis is just like hepatitis A and spreads through faecal-oral contamination. This form of hepatitis is common in low resource countries.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Hepatitis
Your child’s healthcare provider checks a child’s medical history and examines him/her. After that, there are the following diagnosis procedures and other tests usually done by a doctor to determine the extent of the disease.
- Blood Test – A doctor can do a blood test for liver function test, cellular blood counts, liver enzymes, and coagulation tests.
- CT Scan –This test shows a detailed image of your child’s bones, muscles, fat, and organs.
- Ultrasound – This can effectively examine the liver using sound waves.
- MRI – In this, detailed image of organs and structure inside your child’s body, a doctor can see through radio waves and a computer.
- Liver Biopsy – In this test, a healthcare provider can take out a tissue sample from your child’s liver. Then, he/she may look at it closely under a microscope.
Treatment of hepatitis will depend on the following factors.
- Child’s age, overall health, and medical history
- The extent of the disease
- Parents opinion or preference
- Your child’s tolerance for particular medicines, processes, or therapies
The ultimate goal of the treatment of hepatitis is to stop damage to the liver and ease symptoms. Therefore, its treatment may include one or more of the following.
- Supportive Care
- Liver Transplant if it is end-stage liver failure
- Hospital stay
- Proactive Nutrition Support
- Preventing the spread of the diseases
Proper hygiene is the key to prevent the spread of many diseases incorporating hepatitis. Other preventive measures include:
- Blood Transfusion
- Antibody Preparation
To prevent hepatitis, encourage your child to maintain proper hygiene including
- Hand wash with soap after using the bathroom
- Only consume food and water that is fresh and not contaminated.
- Never share personal hygiene items such as toothbrushes, needles, or manicure equipment.
Briefly, as discussed above, there are many ways to prevent hepatitis, from getting a vaccine, to maintaining hygiene measures like washing hands properly. However, it all depends on what type of hepatitis your child has. The heads-up mentioned above will help you to keep your child safe and take the right steps when you notice any anomaly. Contact your healthcare provider as soon as you notice any or a combination of these symptoms.