Table of contents:
- Causes of Hepatitis in Children
- Symptoms of Hepatitis in Children
- Handling Hepatitis in Children
- Steps to Prevent Hepatitis in Children
Although this disease is more common in adults, hepatitis in children can also occur. Various things can cause a child to experience hepatitis, from viral infections to certain medical conditions
Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver (liver). This condition can happen to anyone, including children aged 1 month to 16 years. Hepatitis, both hepatitis in children and adults, can be divided into chronic hepatitis and acute hepatitis.
In chronic hepatitis, liver inflammation progresses slowly, can be up to 6 months, with mild to moderate symptoms. While in acute hepatitis, inflammation occurs suddenly and lasts for a short period of time.
In April 2022, there have been reported cases of hepatitis in children that need to be watched out for. The reason is, cases of severe acute hepatitis in children are relatively fast spreading. In fact, until May 2022 there have been 3 pediatric patients with suspected severe acute hepatitis in Indonesia.
Causes of Hepatitis in Children
The causes of hepatitis in children are basically the same as the causes of hepatitis in adults, namely:
There are various types of hepatitis due to viral infection, namely hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E. However, hepatitis A is the most common type of hepatitis in children.
This disease is caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV) which enters the body through food or drink contaminated with the virus or unhygienic.
Hepatitis transmission is also possible when a child holds objects, such as toys, that are contaminated with the hepatitis virus, then puts their hands in their mouths.
Hepatitis A virus can spread through various media, such as:
- Food that is not washed, processed, and cooked until cooked
- Objects or surfaces that are frequently touched, such as toilet doorknobs, especially in public facilities
After entering the body, the virus will spread through the bloodstream and into the liver. In this organ, the virus then causes inflammation and swelling.
Besides viral hepatitis, hepatitis in children can also be caused by cytomegalovirus, enterovirus, herpes simplex virus, and rubella.
In a case that has been hotly discussed recently, the SARS-CoV-2 virus and adenovirus were detected in a pediatric patient with acute hepatitis.However, further research is still needed to determine whether it is true that these two viruses are causing the increase in cases of mysterious acute hepatitis.
Certain he alth conditions
Besides being caused by a virus, hepatitis in children can also be caused by certain medical conditions, one of which is an autoimmune disease. In children who suffer from autoimmune diseases, the body's defense system thinks that the liver is a threat so that he althy cells in that organ need to be attacked.
Not only viral infections and diseases, the use of certain drugs without a doctor's supervision is also known to cause hepatitis in children.
Symptoms of Hepatitis in Children
Hepatitis in children does not always show symptoms. However, parents need to be vigilant if their child shows symptoms of hepatitis. Symptoms usually appear 2–4 weeks after the virus enters the body.
Here are the various symptoms of hepatitis in children:
- No appetite
- stomach pain, especially in the upper right area
- Not feeling well
- Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)
- Urine is dark like tea
- Paul colored feces or feces
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach feels uncomfortable and swollen
To confirm hepatitis in children, the doctor will perform a physical examination accompanied by several supporting examinations, such as blood tests, abdominal ultrasound, and liver biopsy.
Handling Hepatitis in Children
The treatment of hepatitis in children will be adjusted to the severity, symptoms, age, and general he alth condition of the child. The main goal of this treatment is to stop liver damage and relieve the child's complaints.
Some of the treatments that doctors can provide include medication to treat viruses or other causes of hepatitis in children and medications to reduce fever or symptoms.In addition, make sure your child gets enough rest and eats nutritious, clean, and well-cooked food.
Hospital treatment may be recommended if the hepatitis suffered by the child is severe or if the child requires a liver transplant.
Steps to Prevent Hepatitis in Children
To prevent hepatitis in children, parents are advised to increase their vigilance in the following ways:
- Teach and remind children to wash their hands with soap and water
- Giving food and drinks that have been cooked until completely cooked
- Avoid sharing the use of children's cutlery with others
- Avoid direct contact of children with sick people
- Providing he althy and balanced nutrition to children
- Get hepatitis vaccination for children
- Implementing he alth protocols, such as wearing masks, maintaining distance, and reducing mobility
If you have symptoms of hepatitis in your child, don't hesitate to check with the doctor so that the cause can be identified and the appropriate treatment given.