Table of Contents

What is Hepatitis A?

Infection with the Hepatitis A virus attacks the liver and causes extreme tiredness, stomach aches, and nausea.  Yellowing of the skin, also known as jaundice, occurs because of the damage to the liver.  Sometimes, the disease lasts several months and may require hospitalization.  With this in mind, protection with the Hepatitis A vaccination is highly effective and lasts for a lifetime.

How is the Virus Contracted?

Hepatitis A is highly contagious and often spreads when the virus contaminates food and water.  People who unknowingly ingest the virus from their food or beverages can then spread it to others.  The virus is found in stool and poor hand hygiene after using the bathroom can result in transmission to customers at food establishments.  Additionally, close personal contact with an infected person can also cause you to get sick. 

Hepatitis A virus is very contagious and can be easily spread to food. Hepatitis A vaccination is the best protection
Guard against food and water disease while on your dream vacation with the Hepatitis A vaccine

Where is Hepatitis A Virus Found?

Since the disease passes easily to people in contaminated food and water, risk for infection exists nearly worldwide.  Not only is Hepatitis A one of the most vaccine-preventable diseases for travelers but also vaccination lasts for lifetime.  Infection can occur with any type of traveler including leisure, business, or humanitarian. Any unvaccinated person traveling to a country with moderate or high risk of exposure needs the Hepatitis A vaccine.  Additionally, those traveling abroad frequently or for multiple weeks during a single trip have a greater chance to encounter the virus. 

What Are the Side Effects of the Hepatitis A Vaccine?

The immunization is given in the deltoid muscle of the arm and subsequently some arm soreness, redness, and mild swelling is common. The nurse will provide you with additional information about the vaccine at the time of your appointment. 

How Many Hepatitis A Vaccines Do I Need?

Two doses of the Hepatitis A vaccine, protect you for a lifetime.  Alternatively, a single dose before your trip provides enough protection until a booster dose is given later. 

In the United States, most preschool and elementary schools requires Hepatitis A for enrollment due to outbreaks in the past. Despite these mandates, many adults remain unvaccinated since school guidelines were not standard until more recently.

Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B Combination Vaccine

You have the option to protect against two forms of hepatitis with fewer shots with the Twinrix brand vaccine. Twinrix combines the Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B vaccines in one injection.  After receiving three doses you have lifetime immunity against both diseases.

Buying food from street vendors can increase your risk for food-borne illnesses like Hepatitis A

Where Can I Find the Hepatitis A Vaccine Near Me?

Schedule an appointment with Destination Health Travel Clinic for your Hepatitis A vaccination.  If you received your Hepatitis A immunizations previously but no longer have your vaccine record, consider a Hepatitis A titer test to check your immunity.  Online appointments are available or call our office with questions. 

Additional Common Travel Vaccinations

Many other diseases are spread from contaminated food and water.  Protect against infection before departure.  Read more about these immunizations also offered by Destination Health Clinic; Typhoid Fever, Cholera, Polio. You can also take measures to prevent traveler’s diarrhea by following safe food and beverage recommendations.