Page last updated 01/04/2024.
See below, or click the following links, to learn more about:
What is Hepatitis A?
The hepatitis A virus is found in the stool and blood of people who are infected. The hepatitis A virus is spread when someone ingests the virus (even in amounts too small to see) through:
- Person-to-person contact: Hepatitis A can spread from close, personal contact with an infected person, such as through certain types of sexual contact, caring for someone who is ill, using drugs with others, or sharing utensils. Hepatitis A is very contagious. People can spread the virus before they even feel sick.
- Eating contaminated food or drink: Although uncommon, foodborne outbreaks have occurred in the United States from people eating contaminated fresh and frozen imported food and drinking contaminated water supply.
Not everyone with hepatitis A has symptoms. If symptoms develop, they usually appear 2 to 7 weeks after infection. Symptoms usually last less than 2 months, although some people can be ill for as long as 6 months.
Symptoms can include:
- Yellow skin or eyes
- Not wanting to eat
- Upset stomach
- Throwing up
- Stomach pain
- Dark urine or light-colored stools
- Joint pain
- Feeling tired
A doctor can determine if you have hepatitis A by discussing your symptoms and ordering a blood test that can tell whether or not you have been recently infected with the Hepatitis A virus.
Doctors usually recommend rest, adequate nutrition, and fluids. Some people with severe symptoms will need medical care in a hospital.
The best way to prevent hepatitis A is
through hepatitis A vaccine. Hepatitis A infection after exposure to
the virus can be prevented with Hepatitis A vaccination
- The Hepatitis A vaccine is 2 doses given 6 months apart.
- All children and adolescents 2–18 years of age who have not previously received the vaccine should be vaccinated.
- Adults who were not vaccinated previously and want to be protected against hepatitis A can also get the vaccine.
- Practicing good hygiene, such as washing hands after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and before preparing or eating food, plays an important role in preventing the spread of hepatitis A.
Where can I get the Hepatitis A vaccine?
- Contact your healthcare provider. If you do not have a healthcare provider, contact 2-1-1.
- Immunization services are available throughout San Diego County at our six Public Health Center Locations. Please visit our Immunization Clinic Locations for clinic hours of operation. We recommend calling the site you plan to visit to confirm current hours and immunization availability.
- Call your healthcare provider as soon as possible, ideally within 2 weeks of exposure. A healthcare provider can decide next steps based on your age and overall health.
- If you do not have a healthcare provider, contact 2-1-1.
County of San Diego
- Hepatitis A Prevention Poster: English | Spanish
- Department of Environmental Health and Quality
- Map of Handwashing Stations and Public Restrooms
- Hepatitis A Viral Infection Fact Sheet: English | Spanish
- Hepatitis A Symptoms - Poster: English | Spanish
- Chronic Liver Disease Hepatitis A Fact Sheet
- Who Should Get the Hepatitis A Vaccine Flyer: English | Spanish
- The Hepatitis A Vaccine is 2 Doses Flyer: English | Spanish
- Hepatitis A Vaccinations for Food Handlers: Arabic | English | Farsi | Spanish
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention