Time for Hepatitis A Booster

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The impact of Hepatitis A is still being seen in Region 8, with one possible exposure already this year.

Although many have received the Hepatitis A vaccination, that does not mean you’re completely immune just yet.

Hepatitis A has become an issue for numerous restaurants in Northeast Arkansas.

The viral infection primarily impacts the liver and can be spread by eating food that’s been contaminated by somebody else who prepares the food that has the infection.

Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, jaundice and dark urine and dark stools.

There have been several Hepatitis A clinics held over the past six months and many people are now ready for the second step to immunization.

Dr. Mark Wiggins with St. Bernards Medical Group believes it’s important to stay up to date on the current CDC recommended vaccines.

“The current CDC guideline recommends the hepatitis a vaccine is given in a two-shot series, given six months apart,” said Wiggins. “Getting the first shot is absolutely a great way to start, it reduces your risk of getting an infection but, getting the second dose is going to give you life-long immunity against getting hepatitis.”

The second shot, also known as the booster, is widely available and you can get it from your primary care physician, at your pharmacy or the health department.

You can also speak to your insurance company to see what the cost would be.

If you plan on traveling to Third World countries, the booster shot is highly recommended due to food code and food preparation processes.

“If you’re thinking about taking an international trip to somewhere into Central or South America or Southeast Asia, I would strongly recommend you speak to your physician about getting the two series vaccination done before you travel,” said Wiggins.

Dr. Wiggins also wanted to make sure people knew that the risk of getting the infection can be lowering by practicing routine hand washing.

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