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What is acute hepatitis?

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that results in liver cell damage and destruction. Acute hepatitis is a type of hepatitis that is quite common in the U.S.

Symptoms

Acute hepatitis usually starts with flu-like symptoms. The following are the most common symptoms of acute hepatitis. However, each person may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Jaundice (yellow color in the skin and/or eyes)
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Tenderness in the right, upper abdomen (belly)
  • Sore muscles
  • Joint pain
  • Clay-colored bowel movements
  • Itchy, red hives on skin

Causes

Common causes of acute hepatitis may include:

  • Infection with a virus (viral hepatitis A, B, C, D, or E)
  • Overdose of drugs (such as acetaminophen)
  • Chemical exposure (such as dry cleaning chemicals

How is it diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and medical examination, diagnostic procedures for acute hepatitis may include specific laboratory tests and liver function tests.

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