Hepatitis A is sweeping through San Diego County, including downtown near San Diego City College. If you are worried you might have the Hep A virus, also known as HAV, here are some symptoms listed by the San Diego County Health Department.
HAV symptoms are: fever, fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, dark urine, pale stool and diarrhea, stomach pain, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes). If you see someone else with these symptoms, make them aware and direct them to the nearest health facility.
If you have one or more of these symptoms, contact a doctor or visit the nearest emergency room. Carry your insurance cards, you may need them.
As a precaution, always wash your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom and before handling food. Use hand wipes if necessary and carry hand sanitizer for emergencies.
Preventative measures for Hepatitis A require getting two shots of the Hep A vaccine. Don’t have sex with someone with the infection or share towels, toothbrushes, or eating utensils. In addition, don’t share food, drinks, or cigarettes.
The Hepatitis A virus is relatively strong. In good conditions, it can survive outside the body for months, including in certain acids and under hot conditions. For a period of time and under certain conditions, HAV can survive in seawater, dried feces, and live oysters.
It is highly contagious because of its longevity and because it is transmitted through the fecal or oral route. Proper hand hygiene and vaccination are essential for preventing the spread of HAV, according to the website Very Well.
In San Diego County, the following places provide free Hep A vaccines:
Mon: Oct. 9, 1-4 p.m. at Logan Heights Branch Library, 567 S. 28th St.
Tues: Oct.17, 2-5 p.m. at S.D. Central Library, 330 Park Blvd.
Fri: Oct. 20, 2-5 p.m. at Malcolm X Library, 5148 Market St.
Tues: Nov. 21, 2-5 p.m. at S.D. Central Library, 330 Park Blvd.
Tues: Dec.19, 2-5 p.m. at S.D. Central Library, 330 Park Blvd.
The County of San Diego Health and Human Services Immunization Hotline contact number is 1-866-358-2966. You can also dial 211 on your phone to learn where to get the vaccine.