The UKHSA is warning everyone about the rise of cases of hepatitis in young children, that potentially could be linked to Covid-19. Read on for more.
- What Is Hepatitis?
- Symptoms To Watch For
- Hepatitis And Covid-19
- What This Means For You
- More Information
What Is Hepatitis?
Hepatitis is the name given to the inflammation of the liver, and is usually caused either by excessive alcohol consumption or exposure to a virus. This virus can be one of the identified Hepatitis viruses (A, B, C, D, E), or an external virus. It varies in severity, with illness ranging from mild unwellness to long-term chronic conditions including scarring of the liver and even liver cancer.
Symptoms To Watch For
The NHS and UKHSA have published a list of symptoms to look out for. These are:
- dark urine
- pale, grey-coloured poo
- itchy skin
- yellowing of the eyes and skin (jaundice)
- muscle and joint pain
- a high temperature
- feeling and being sick
- feeling unusually tired all the time
- loss of appetite
- tummy pain
More information about hepatitis can be found on the NHS website and on the British Liver Trust website, both of which are linked at the end of this post. If you are at all concerned, either because you or your child has symptoms or if you just want more information, talk to your GP immediately. The dangers of hepatitis are far too significant for it to be ignored, especially for children.
Hepatitis And Covid-19
There is not yet a clinically proven link between Covid-19 and hepatitis. However, there is a lot of scientific evidence pointing to one. There are multiple studies that link Covid-19 infection to organ damage and illnesses, including (in some cases) autoimmune hepatitis – a very rare form of hepatitis that usually causes lifelong effects.
According to an American study carried out earlier this year, there is now reasonable evidence to suggest that “SARS-CoV-2 infection should be considered as a cause of acute severe hepatitis even in patients without significant respiratory or other systemic symptoms.” Put simply, catching Covid-19 can be a cause of hepatitis by itself. This is backed up by numerous other studies carried out since 2020.
What This Means For You
If you or someone you know has had Covid-19, you are at risk of developing hepatitis or another similar condition, that will have a life-long impact and could leave you permanently disabled. This is especially true in children, who are currently catching Covid-19 in very high numbers nationally. You should be taking every precaution to protect yourself from catching Covid-19 for your own safety – it is NOT a mild virus.
If you are a parent, keep a very close eye on your child(ren) for any of the symptoms described above, and ask your child to look out for them as well. It is vitally important to catch it quickly, as then treatment will have the best chance of preventing long-term harm.
This likely link between Covid-19 and hepatitis is just one of many that has been found lately between Covid-19 and other serious illnesses. Sadly, as the UK aims for an open, unsafe society where the virus can run rife and mutate freely, large numbers of people developing serious illnesses is going to become more and more common. This is just the start of what it really means to ‘live with Covid’ – not the virus fading away, but maintaining its place as the single largest threat to public health in England in the last 400 years. Do not become complacent, and keep yourself safe.
To read NHS guidance on hepatitis, use this link: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/hepatitis/
To read guidance from the British Liver Trust on autoimmune hepatitis, use this link: https://britishlivertrust.org.uk/information-and-support/living-with-a-liver-condition/liver-conditions/autoimmune-hepatitis/
To read more about the risk of catching Covid-19 in Bucks, use this link: https://buds.org.uk/category/our-work/iag-covid-19/risk-assessments/
To read all BuDS’ articles about Covid-19, use this link: https://buds.org.uk/category/our-work/iag-covid-19/
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