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Viral Hepatitis


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What can I do to prevent hepatitis A?

for Veterans and the Public

What can I do to prevent hepatitis A?

Practice good personal hygiene

Because so many cases of hepatitis A are due to close contact with an infected person, you should always practice good personal hygiene, especially by washing your hands.

Be careful in high-risk situation

  • Boil water or drink bottled water in areas where there is a risk for hepatitis A contamination.
  • Eat cooked foods and fruits that you can peel and avoid eating vegetables or fruits that could have been washed with contaminated water, such as lettuce.
  • Avoid eating raw or steamed shellfish, such as oysters, that live in contaminated waters.
  • Use condoms correctly and every time you have sex. (See Tips for Using CondomsLink will take you to our HIV/AIDS internet site, on the VA HIV/AIDS website.)

Get vaccinated

The best way to prevent hepatitis A is to get vaccinated. The vaccine is very effective and can keep you from ever getting hepatitis A. You will not get hepatitis A from the vaccine.

Ask your VA medical care provider about vaccination if:

  • you are in one of the high risk groups listed in "Who is at risk for hepatitis A?"
  • you have any other type of chronic liver disease

More on the hepatitis A vaccine follows.