Hepatitis In Children: How To Save Your Young One?

Hepatitis In Children: How To Save Your Young One?

Hepatitis in children is not that common. However, Statistics by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that 228 worldwide cases for inexplicable cases of Hepatitis had been reported until May 1. Moreover, if diagnosed, this variant can severely affect children and might even be fatal in some cases.

Further, according to data by the World Health Organization (WHO), hepatitis in children age ranges between 1 month and 16 years. Therefore, it is vital for parents to safeguard their children against the threat but most parents don’t know how to tackle the issue. Also, experts are still figuring out the details of recent cases of unidentified hepatitis in children. So, this article has curated already known facts and is aimed at providing necessary information on the disease and will also provide precautionary measures. Further, an overview of acute hepatitis infections has been given.

What Exactly Is Hepatitis?

Hepatitis means the inflammation caused in one’s liver. The various identified causes of this disease are high alcohol consumption, some kinds of medications, some preexisting medical conditions, and toxins. The common variants of hepatitis we generally hear about include Hepatitis A, Hepatitis C, and Hepatitis B. The viral disease enters the body through the diagnosed patient’s blood and/or bodily fluids. However, with the identification of the viral hepatitis cases, it has been difficult for the experts to find the possible causes of such a variant. This situation is worrisome for children as they are much less immune than adults.

Possible Cause Of Unidentified Hepatitis

Experts around the world are conducting rigorous research campaigns in order to ascertain the possible cause(s) of the recent outbreak of hepatitis in children. However, not much has been found until now. The advancement of recent hepatitis child treatment is surely distant. This is because the only notable development is that the disease might have a potential link with adenovirus infection. This was ascertained when physicians found traces of the aforementioned infection while examining the children diagnosed with hepatitis.

Dr. William Schaffner, Professor of Preventive Medicine, Health Policy, and Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center said:

“Investigations are still underway. How it is spread, or the common vehicle, is still not clear. In any location, there is no contact between the children who have gotten sick.”

The above-mentioned quote mentions that the children who were suffering from the disease had no contact with each other. This confirms that hepatitis in children 2022  variant is indeed not a communicable form of infection. However, the exact source or medium for it has still not been determined as research is still “underway.” In addition, Schaffner revealed that the common link in the reported cases was the presence of adenovirus infection.

In a telebriefing on CDC, researchers mentioned that 50% of the 109 children who were diagnosed with hepatitis in the United States also tested positive for adenovirus. This was another proof of the potential link that Schaffer earlier talked about. However, hepatitis due to adenovirus has been attributed to a weak immune system since this outcome is not common for the adenovirus. Instead, it can cause a common cold, sore throat, flu, or fever.

Overview Of Typical Hepatitis Variants

Here is a complete overview of the pre existing and identified acute hepatitis variants. The table below discusses how these viruses are spread and what are the general outcomes that are expected. In addition, it also mentions how much time it takes for these infections to show symptoms and whether or not are their vaccines for the infection.  It further discusses the seriousness of acute hepatitis in children and adults.

Virus
Medium of spread
Time between contraction and symptom inception
Prognosis
Vaccine Availability
Hepatitis A
Contaminated food or water
15 to 40 days
Complete recovery is anticipated
Yes
Hepatitis B
Blood, needles, and sexual activity
50 to 180 days
About 90% of infants conceive chronic infection. About 10% of older children acquire chronic infection
Yes
Hepatitis C
Blood and needles
2 to 6 months
Around 70% to 80% of acute infections turn chronic overtime, New medications and drugs are capable of curing the infection in 95% to 98% of children.
No
Hepatitis D
Blood, needles, and sexual activity
Uncertain, as it is a co-infection caused along with hepatitis B
Scarce in the U.S., Worsens hepatitis B infection
No
Hepatitis E
Contaminated food or water
5 to 60 days
Scarce in the U.S., Complete recovery is anticipated, but infection might become severe in case of pregnant women
No
Epstein Barr Virus (EBV)
Getting in touch with bodily fluids, particularly saliva
Few Weeks to months
Typical infection that leads to mononucleosis (also known as mono or the ‘kissing disease’), Can lead to hepatitis in some cases, Complete recovery is expected
No
Cytomegalovirus (CMV)
Getting in touch with body excretions
Few Weeks to months
Extremely common, more than 50% of 40-year-old adults have contracted the virus, which can cause hepatitis in some cases Complete recovery expected
No
Adenovirus
Droplets in the air (coughing or sneezing) contaminated water bodies such as lakes and swimming pools
Few Days to weeks
A common infection that leads to hepatitis in extremely rare cases, Complete recovery expected
No

Hepatitis In Children: Symptoms To Note

To protect your child from the threat, it is necessary to know the symptoms of hepatitis so that they can be provided urgent treatment if diagnosed. However, the early symptoms of the disease are generally vague and can easily be attributed to other reasons. These include fever, vomiting, appetite loss, and even nausea. The next stage involves light-colored stools and darker urine. As the disease progresses further, it can lead to jaundice that will turn the skin and white of the eyes yellowish or pale.

Should Parents Be Overly Cautious?

Hepatitis in children is quite worrisome due to its serious outcomes. However, the disease is currently not spreading at an alarming rate and is rare, so parents are advised not to be overly cautious about the matter. Experts suggest that parents should not extensively curb their children’s socialising activities nor restrict them from attending school.

It is advised that parents consult their child’s paediatrician if they are unable to keep fluids down or in case their cold or flu symptoms do not subside. Further, parents should make the paediatrician aware if they see signs of dark urine, light stools, or jaundice. For now, parents can also be relieved about hepatitis in children covid links.

Prevention From Hepatitis

The recent cases of hepatitis in children still do not have an identified source. Therefore, it is difficult to list preventive measures for the same. But physicians believe that the potential link of adenovirus can be considered for ascertaining precautionary measures. Therefore, they advise that common cold and flu prevention measures would be the most fruitful ones in this case. However, the matter gets worse as hepatitis in children vaccine doses for a host of variants are still not available.

The other common types of hepatitis have their own set of preventive measures that have been listed below.

  • Hepatitis A Vaccine: This vaccine is given to infants in a 2-dose series once they are a year old. It protects from the Hepatitis A virus for a lifetime.
  • Hepatitis B Vaccine: This vaccine is given to newborns right at birth and then two other doses after a few months. It also prevents one from Hepatitis D virus as this variant can’t be developed until Hepatitis B is contracted.
  • Washing hands with clean water and soap for about 20  seconds while eating or preparing food.
  • Checking practices that are undertaken by your child’s daycare to make sure that they maintain utmost hygiene.
  • Consult your pediatrician before traveling across borders to know of any risks of hepatitis and the necessary precautions to be taken.
  • Keep medications out of reach of your children. Further, always check the labels and instructions for dosage before giving any medicine to your child or infant.

A Quick Recap

Hepatitis in children, though not common, can be extremely serious so necessary precautionary measures should be taken. Moreover, the recent unidentified variant has made it worrisome for parents since there is no possible cure obtained for it. However, parents are advised to avoid being overly cautious. They should just take recommended precautions and be in touch with their child’s pediatrician. They should also make sure that their children obtain the Hepatitis A and B vaccines.

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Alessia Braun

Alessia Braun is a health, fitness, and beauty influencer who wishes to share her knowledge through her articles in News Magnify.

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