PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — The Florida Department of Health in Pasco County is offering the second dose of the hepatitis A vaccine for free on four Saturdays in February.
The second dose is for those who received their first dose at least six months ago. Health officials say the vaccine is the best way to prevent hepatitis A.
The vaccines with take place Saturday, Feb. 8, 15, 22 and 29 at 10841 Little Road in New Port Richey.
People who should get the vaccine include:
• All children at age 1 year
• People who are experiencing homelessness
• Users of recreational drugs, whether injected or not
• Men who have sexual encounters with other men
• People with direct contact with others who have hepatitis A
• Travelers to countries where hepatitis A is common
• People with chronic or long-term liver disease, including hepatitis B or hepatitis C
• People with clotting-factor disorders
• Family and caregivers of adoptees from countries where hepatitis A is common
What is Hepatitis A?
Hepatitis A is a highly contagious disease that attacks the liver. People infected with hepatitis A are most contagious from two weeks before onset of symptoms to one week afterwards. Not everyone who is infected will have all the symptoms. Symptoms usually start within 28 days of exposure to the virus with a range of 15-50 days.
Symptoms can include:
• Jaundice (yellowing skin and whites of eyes)
• Loss of appetite
• Nausea and vomiting
• Stomach pain
• Dark-colored urine
• Pale or clay colored stoolHow is Hepatitis A Infection Prevented or Treated?• Practicing good hand hygiene – including thoroughly washing hands with soap and water after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and before preparing or eating food – plays an important role in preventing the spread of hepatitis A.
• Hepatitis A vaccine is the best method of preventing infection.
• No medicines can cure the disease once symptoms appear.
• People with hepatitis A symptoms should seek medical care immediately.
• Most people get better over time but may need to be hospitalized.
• Previous infection with hepatitis A provides immunity for the rest of a person’s life.
• People that are exposed to hepatitis A may be given vaccine or immune globulin within 14 days of exposure to prevent infection.