What Are the Early Warning Signs of Hepatitis?

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Hepatitis is the name of a group of diseases that affect the liver. The most common types in the United States and most of the rest of the world are hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Each one is caused by a virus that infects the liver. Most people contract hepatitis A by consuming contaminated food or water. Hepatitis B usually comes from exposure to an infected person's bodily fluids during sex or while sharing needles or razors. The most common type, hepatitis C, also comes from exposure to bodily fluids.

While each type of hepatitis is treated differently and has its own distinct symptoms, there are some early symptoms that you may experience no matter which type you have. Some of these may mirror symptoms of other illnesses, like the flu or a common cold.

The most important thing to do is visit your doctor if you experience these symptoms, especially if you think you've been exposed to someone who has any form of hepatitis. Symptoms typically appear between two weeks and up to four months after exposure, though some people, especially younger ones, may not experience any symptoms at all.