Hepatitis is a medical term used to refer to the liver’s inflammation caused by viruses, infection, alcohol, chemicals, and drug use (prescription medications and recreational drugs) amongst other factors (Gallegos-Orozco & Rakela-Brödner, 2010). Hepatitis manifests itself in various types which include hepatitis A, B, C, D and E. Apparently, the liver is one of the most important organs in the human body, as it performs a range of functions including making proteins, regulating metabolism, producing bile, removing toxins, as well as storing iron and vitamins. If the liver fails to perform as expected, it can cause a serious illness that may result in death. The most prevalent types of hepatitis are hepatitis A, B, and C (Gallegos-Orozco & Rakela-Brödner, 2010). These viral Hepatitis are different, and they affect the liver in different ways. Besides, they portray distinct symptoms, and different medication is used. If proper care is not taken or the patient does not follow the doctor’s prescription, viral hepatitis can become chronic hepatitis meaning, the liver will continue experiencing inflammation regardless of the primary cause. Hepatitis type is determined through laboratory tests. The paper provides an overview of hepatitis A, B and C in details, as well as how they are dealt with in nursing.
Hepatitis A (HAV) is caused by ingesting infected food or water. It can also be caused by various sex practices. According to studies, the infections are mostly mild; hence majority of people recover fully and remain immune to more infections (Harvala, Wong & Simmonds, 2014). Nonetheless, the infection of hepatitis A virus can be serious and life threatening. People living in areas with poor sanitation across the globe are highly susceptible to the virus. Hepatitis A has no treatment, and it is only treated through supportive treatment.
A virus known as Hepatitis B is transmitted sexually causing Hepatitis B (Gallegos-Orozco & Rakela-Brödner, 2010). The transmission of the virus occurs through exposure to infected semen, blood and body fluids. The virus can also be passed to newborns at birth, if the mother is infected and during breastfeeding, or from infected family members to an infant during its first months of life (Gallegos-Orozco & Rakela-Brödner, 2010). Besides, transmission also takes places during blood transfusions of Hepatitis B virus infected blood. Health workers, especially nurses, are also susceptible to the HBV infection particularly when they sustain accidental needle injuries when attending to the patients infected with the virus. The liver of an infected HBV patient swells and if not detected in time, the patient may suffer liver damage that can result in cancer. HBV patients need rest and a diet high in carbohydrates and proteins to repair and protect the liver. If the disease persists, the doctor prescribes interferon. HBV can also be treated with drugs such as lamivudine and adefovir dipivoxil (Harvala, Wong & Simmonds, 2014).
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On the other hand, Hepatitis C virus can affect an organism by contacting with the blood of a person infected with HCV. The exposure may be through transfusions of HVC infected blood, contaminated injections and injection drug use. Some studies indicate that HCV can also be transmitted through sexual intercourse, though the probability is less common (Harvala, Wong & Simmonds, 2014). Unlike in Hepatitis B, liver cancer in HCV infected patients is only high in people with cirrhosis, and only about 20 percent of these patients suffer from cirrhosis. Research reports that hepatitis C can be treated with peginterferon and ribavirin (Harvala, Wong & Simmonds, 2014).
Most studies indicate that in nursing evidence-based practice; medical practitioners have an adequate adherence to all aspects of recommended infection-control practices. It includes the use of gloves when performing medical procedures to hepatitis ABC patients. Nonetheless, much has to be done to increase nurses’ awareness on viral hepatitis. For example, in both Hepatitis C and B viruses, misuse of anesthesia can accelerate the transmission. Researchers, therefore, advice that it is imperative for the health care community to be educated on the importance of sterile techniques in anesthesia (Gallegos-Orozco & Rakela-Brödner, 2010). Lastly, the permanent use of gloves can result in cross-transmission of the disease-causing agents.
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In summary, the most common viral hepatitis across the globe are A, B and C. Apparently, while all the above-discussed viruses are harmful to the liver, they are transmitted distinctly, and their treatments are different. Unlike for HCV, which has no preventive vaccines, there are safe vaccines available to prevent HAV and HBV.