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The treatment for a hepatitis viral infection may depend on the type of hepatitis. If you are diagnosed with an acute case of viral hepatitis, which usually means it develops suddenly and causes symptoms for less than six months, your treatment may include rest, fluids, and other steps intended to help you stay comfortable. If you have a chronic form of viral hepatitis, which usually lasts for longer than six months, treatment will typically involve medications that help destroy the virus and minimize damage to your liver.
If you have acute viral hepatitis, your doctor’s treatment recommendations will likely focus on relieving your symptoms. Often, an acute hepatitis viral infection causes such symptoms as nausea, vomiting, and pain in the abdomen. In many cases, a doctor will prescribe medications to relieve these symptoms, choosing those that won’t contribute to liver damage. He will likely recommend that you get plenty of rest and fluids as well. If you have trouble staying hydrated because of the vomiting associated with viral hepatitis, he may recommend hospitalization and intravenous (IV) fluids to prevent dehydration.
In the event that you have a chronic hepatitis viral infection, medication may become the focus of your treatment. Typically, doctors prescribe medication that will work to get rid of the virus that caused the chronic hepatitis viral infection. The idea is to destroy the virus and put a stop to the gradual damage of the liver that occurs with chronic viral hepatitis. If the medication is effective, it may work to prevent scarring of the liver and liver failure. It may even prevent liver cancer.
The medications that are used in chronic hepatitis viral infection treatment may depend on the type of hepatitis you have. Interferon, which is injected, and ribavirin, which is taken orally, are commonly used for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C infections. If, on the other hand, you have a chronic hepatitis B infection, treatment options may include not only interferon, but also oral medications such as lamivudine, adefovir, and entecavir. Unfortunately, the medications used for treating chronic hepatitis are not always effective and are often associated with side effects.
Your doctor will likely warn you against alcohol use when you are undergoing viral hepatitis treatment. This is because alcohol may increase the risk of serious damage to the liver. You will likely be asked to abstain regardless of whether you have acute or chronic viral hepatitis.
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