Surfers Beware! They’re Deadly, They’re Lurking In The Water, But You Can’t See Them…

Turns out there is something scarier than Jaws

Catching hepatitis A means your liver is in for a hard time (just check out the symptoms below).

Hepatitis A is found in sewage and is transmitted by the ‘faecal-oral route’. Translation: your mouth comes into contact with something that’s been contaminated with hep A patient’s poo.

It can survive for more than 90 days in the sea. Surfers are therefore three times more likely to get hepatitis A.

The good news is symptoms usually clear up within a couple of months, but it might take up to six months. In most cases, your liver will make a full recovery.


What are the symptoms?

• Lack of appetite

• Mild fever

• Aches and pains

• Feeling sick

• Being sick

• Diarrhoea

If your liver becomes infected:

• Skin and eyes turn yellow, known as jaundice

• Very dark urine and ghostly pale poo

• Itchy skin

• Painful liver

And in extreme cases:

• Liver failure (1% of hepatitis A cases)

• Death


What can you do to treat it?

The bad news is hepatitis A is incurable. You can of course:

• Use painkillers but avoid over use, as it may cause further damage your liver

• Use standard treatments to help reduce itching

• Use medication to help alleviate vomiting

• Rest your liver – so no alcohol and check medications for side effects to liver


How can you prevent it?

Hepatitis A vaccinations are available (I’ve had mine).

The vaccine provides cover for about a year, but if you have a booster vaccine 6-12 months after the first one, then cover lasts for at least twenty years.


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