Most cases of hepatitis or inflammation of the liver are
due to viral agents (Hepatitis A, B, C, and E virus).
CAUSES: Hepatitis A and E are due to infection by the
oral route. The other two are caused by infection due to an infected needle or blood and also through sexual
intercourse. A mother having hepatitis B can also pass it on to her newborn through the placenta. Tattooing and ear
can also expose people to infection with the hepatitis B
SYMPTOMS: The usual onset
is with loss of appetite and vomiting. Fever may or may not be present. The child
then develops high-coloured urine and yellow eyes. The
jaundice deepens. The skin also becomes yellow. After about 2
weeks of the onset, the appetite starts returning, the urine
colour becomes lighter and the child usually recovers after a
total duration of about 3 weeks.
Your doctor may ask for a urine examination and some blood tests specially to rule out
hepatitis B. Complications with hepatitis A and E are not common. But hepatitis B and C can
lead to liver failure or
persistent infection and even carcinoma of the liver.
TREATMENT: There is no
specific treatment for hepatitis. The child is advised rest at home till the jaundice
clears and the appetite returns to normal.
Some doctors place unnecessary dietary restrictions, but
I believe that in routine cases, a child who is allowed to
eat what he likes recovers faster. Such a child is less
likely to feel weak. If the child is not hungry, encourage him to have
fruit and rice preparations. If he is vomiting, give him small
feeds at more frequent intervals. Drugs for vomiting should be avoided. If vomiting is severe, intravenous fluids may
Sugarcane juice is not essential. In fact, we have seen children getting new infections from
this juice if it is
bought from outside. If you are very keen about cane sugar, let
the child chew on a piece of sugarcane. Similarly, drinks
enriched with glucose are not required.
In case of fever, try to avoid drugs. Even a relatively
safe drug like paracetamol can be harmful for the liver.
Sponging with slightly warm water may be resorted to. Liver
tonics are not required. Any Vitamin B complex preparation may be given for a month.
If the child has much itching, apply calamine lotion on
the skin. Your doctor may also prescribe some oral
7 March, 2016