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Author Topic: Hepatitis Info please.
NoName
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Hello. My brother is in the hospital for jaundice and assorted digestive issues. They are first thought it was his gallbladder, and it still could be, but they are waiting on blood work to come back to see if they can find anything. Honestly, I feel he could have Hepatitis, and his doctors have said that is a possibility too. I am writing to ask for some more information on this disease. I have read the article in the infection section, which helped some but I have a few questions. I understand that a certain type can be caught through tainted food or water, correct? How common is that a pathway, considering he lives in the US in an area that doesn't have a knowingly high rate of it? See, my brother is a lifelong drug addict and me and my family have no way of knowing for sure exactly how he could have gotten it since he is rarely honest about his activities. He has already said that if he does have Hep, that it had to be from food...but I figured that would be rare. I am worried that he isn't being honest about whether or not he used needles, and his sexual history as well and there could be more lives at stake than his.

Also, this probably sounds horrible of me, but I am being honest, is there any way it can be contagious through means other than blood, semen, vaginal fluids, feces, or breast milk? If you saw my last postings months back, I do have OCD and I am very paranoid about diseases. I want to be there for my brother in his time of need but I am sort of afraid to come around him until I know what his blood work says. Am I being unreasonable?

I would appreciate any info you can give me on this. He may not even have Hep but it seems to be a viable possibility at this point and I just want to be more informed and prepared knowing what he is up against. Thank you so much.

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Robin Lee
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Hi NoName,

There are three different strains of Hepatitis: A, B, and C.

I'm including some links so you can read up on all three strains yourself.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hepatitis-a/DS00397

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hepatitis-b/DS00398

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hepatitis-c/DS00097


Because your brother is under a doctor's care, if he does test positive for any form of Hepatitis that could be transmitted to his family, the doctors will talk with your family and conduct any tests necessary. This is in responsible, professional hands. [Smile]

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Robin

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NoName
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It says you can get type A from "close contact" with an infected person. What is considered close contact? I didn't think it could be transmitted through sweat, tears, etc. Thanks for the links by the way.
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Robin Lee
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Here's some more specific information on Hep A Transmission:

http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/hepatitis/hepatitisa/Pages/transmission.aspx

Again, though, based on what your brother's results are, your family will be able to work with the doctors to figure out if there's any risk to any of you.

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Robin

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NoName
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Oh I see, it's through fecal matter. I think I get it now. Thanks a bunch for your help. Let's hope that my brother will be okay regardless of the outcome.
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Robin Lee
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You're welcome. [Smile]

And yes, I hope your brother starts feeling bbetter soon.

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Robin

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NoName
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Hello. I found out today that my brother was in fact diagnosed with Hepatitis A. First of all, his prognosis is good, they said the infection would clear itself. His liver enzymes went down already, and he is less yellow. My concerns at this point are that...I have not had my Hep A or B vaccinations...and I have not had contact with my brother throughout any of this, so I am afraid to be around him now. I fully plan on going ahead and getting my vaccination some time this week, at least for type A, but my question is, will this vac take affect immediately? I know it is in a series of two, but how protective is it just from the first one? I understand that type A is caught from feces but from what I have read, it is quite contagious and you are advised to get vaccinated even if you just live with someone who has it, so I am very afraid of being exposed. I feel like such an awful person at the same time. I don't want to shun my brother. We aren't super close, in fact, we rarely see each other anyway but I do love him very much and it makes me feel terrible not coming to see him when he is sick. My OCD makes me 10 times more paranoid than a normal person about this. To be honest, I am even a little afraid to go around family who have been in contact with him during this time. I don't know what to do to get over my anxiety about this. I don't wish to isolate someone because they are sick, I realize that with this type, anyone who isn't vaccinated could be exposed to it, and it doesn't have to be through drug use or sexual contact. If it were me, and I knew I had this, I would feel lonely but I also would not want the weight of knowing that I am exposing someone to getting ill. I don't know if my brother sees it this way though and I just don't want to hurt him.
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Robin Lee
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NoName,

These are all concerns that you can share with medical professionals. Do you have a doctor of your own? If so, I would suggest giving them a call, explaining the situation (that you have a family member who has Hepatitis A), and that you need some very specific answers about it.

Alternatively, anyone who is caring for your brother will also be able to tell you if you have anything to be concerned about. If your brother is still in the hospital, they would not allow him to have visitors, or would have some strict protocols for visitors, if they were concerned that he could transmit the illness to someone else.

So, you have several avenues for getting answers and for figuring out whether you could see your brother.

I can't remember if we've talked about this before. Are you being treated in any way (medication, therapy, or both) for your OCD?

--------------------
Robin

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NoName
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Sorry for bothering you, I get the sense that you don't want to talk to me about it. That's okay if you don't, I just thought this was a good place to address my concerns. I do not have health insurance, nor do I have a regular doctor. Anytime I have to go to one, it is an office call payment. As I said, I have not been to the hospital since he has been sick, and have not talked to anyone who has been caring for him. The doctor did tell my mother and his wife to see if they have had their vaccinations and if so, to possibly get a booster regardless so they must be concerned about it spreading.

OCD is a life long issue for me. I have been in therapy many many times but I do not feel comfortable taking the medications available for anxiety, nor do I have the money to pay for a monthly medication as I do not have any form of insurance.

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Robin Lee
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HI No Name,

No, it's not that I don't want to talk to you. *gentle smile* This topic is a little out of the realm of our area of expertise and of what we generally do here, so my aim in my last message was to point out some other resources you could try to get the information you need. I should have stated more clearly that that was what I was doing, and I apologize for sounding abrupt.

Is asking your Mom or your brother's wife to get more information for you so you can make an informed decision about whether to see him an option for you?

Are you able to call him on the phone and at least talk to him that way?

Since Hepatitis A is a public health issue, calling your local public health department and asking questions would also be an option.

It sounds like you're torn between guilt over not going to see him and your fear of catching something. Does it make sense to you that you have resources that you can use to get more information?

[ 10-22-2012, 09:44 PM: Message edited by: Robin Lee ]

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Robin

Posts: 6066 | From: Washington DC suburbs | Registered: Dec 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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