Hepatitis A, B, & C – Compare and Contrast

HepatitisIs It Serious?

Hepatitis A (Hep A)

  • Sometimes.
  • There is no chronic form.

Hepatitis B (Hep B)

  • Yes. It can become chronic.
  • Infants are more likely to get the chronic form.
  • Over time, people with hep B may develop: cirrhosis, or scarring of the liver and liver cancer.

Hepatitis C (Hep C)

  • Yes.
  • Most people get the chronic form.
  • Over time, people with hep C may develop: cirrhosis, or scarring of the liver and liver cancer.

What Are the Symptoms?

Hep A

  • Many adults and most children don’t have symptoms.
  • When they do have symptoms, they might include: feeling very tired, fever, yellow skin or eyes, no appetite, dark urine, light-colored stools, nausea, stomach pain, or diarrhea.

Hep B

  • Most children and many adults don’t have symptoms.
  • When they do have symptoms, they might include: feeling very tired, fever, joint pain, yellow skin or eyes, no appetite, dark urine, light-colored stools, nausea, stomach pain, or vomiting.

Hep C

  • Most people don’t have symptoms.
  • When they do have symptoms, they might include: feeling very tired, fever, joint pain, yellow skin or eyes, no appetite, dark urine, light-colored stools, nausea, stomach pain, or vomiting.

How Do You Get It?

Hep A

  • Exposure to feces of someone with hep A.
  • Infected food and water.

Hep B

  • Exposure to blood, semen, or vaginal fluids of someone with hep B.
  • Can be passed from mother to baby at birth.

Hep C

  • Exposure to blood of someone with hep C.
  • Can be passed from mother to baby at birth, but this isn’t common.

Who’s At Risk?

Hep A

  • Someone who shares a bathroom or kitchen with someone with hep A.
  • Someone who lives in or travels to areas where hep A is common.
  • Someone who has sex with someone with hep A.
  • Someone who works in or attends daycare or other places where people need diapers or help with toileting.

Hep B

  • Someone who shares or works with needles for injecting drugs, tattooing, or piercing.
  • Someone who has sex with someone with hep B.
  • Someone exposed to blood or bodily fluids on the job.
  • Someone who shares or handles razors, toothbrushes, or other personal care items with someone with hep B.

Hep C

  • Someone who shares or works with needles for injecting drugs, tattooing, or piercing.
  • Someone who has sex with someone with hep C.
  • Someone who received blood, blood products, or an organ transplant before 1992.

Is There a Hepatitis Vaccine?

Hep A

  • Yes.
  • May be given at age 1 or after.

Hep B

  • Yes.
  • Should be started at birth.
  • Everyone ages birth to 18 should be vaccinated.
  • Babies born to mothers with hep B should get the vaccine within 12 hours.

Hep C

  • No.

Is There Treatment?

Hep A

  • No.
  • Goes away by itself in 2-6 months.

Hep B

  • Yes.
  • Treatment isn’t always successful.

Hep C

  • Yes.
  • Treatment isn’t always successful.

What Should You Do if You Have It?

Hep A

  • Rest.
  • Don’t drink alcohol.
  • Only take medicines approved by a doctor.
  • Eat healthy food.
  • Don’t donate blood, organs, or tissue.

Hep B

  • Rest.
  • Don’t drink alcohol.
  • Only take medicines approved by a doctor.
  • Eat healthy food.
  • Get regular check-ups.
  • Get vaccinated against hep A.
  • Don’t donate blood, organs, or tissue.

Hep C

  • Rest.
  • Don’t drink alcohol.
  • Only take medicines approved by a doctor.
  • Eat healthy food.
  • Get regular check-ups.
  • Get vaccinated against hep A and hep B.
  • Don’t donate blood, organs, or tissue.

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References:

Did this post help you make sense of hep A, B & C? Do you still have questions about them? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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Comments

  1. hepatitis a symptoms says

    can hep A spread through sexual contact? I’m afraid i have some of the symptoms of hepatitis A and i’m unsure as to how i could have gotten it.

    tia,
    Dave

    • Jenelle Marie says

      Hi there –

      Please see above under the ‘How Do You Get It?’ and ‘Who’s At Risk’ sections to answer your question. As hepatitis A symptoms match a lot of other ailments, it’d be wise to see a medical practitioner to ensure a correct diagnosis and treatment.

      Hope this helps!

  2. hepatitis a symptoms says

    Reread the article and yes, seems like it spreads that way as well :( time to get tested

    Dave

    • Jenelle Marie says

      Your last reply landed in the spam box – glad to hear you found the info you were looking for! :)