Hep A is a little bit worse that the average traveller's diarrhea
Etiology: Hepatitis A virus (HAV)
Typical presentation: 1.- Anorexia, nausea, vomiting, malaise, flu-like symptoms. 2.- Fever, hepatomegaly, jaundice. 3.- Normal-Low leucocyte count, elevation of AST & ALT. 4.- Acute fulminant hepatitis (uncommon)
Lab: HAV markers
Treatment: Bed rest.
Etiology: E. coli, Shigella sp, C. jejuni (all bacterial)
Typical presentation: diarrhea(dysentery sometimes), abdominal cramps, occasional vomiting, weakness, dehydration
Lab: CBC, stool sample and culture may be required.
Treatment: Symptomatic, rehydration therapy. Dysentery or severe persistent diarrhea usually indicates the need of antibiotics.
What exactly you saw in common between these two, apart from the fact that they affect the GI tract in two entirely different places, I want to remain wondering (please, let it not be that you were thinking HUS).
I as a big strong cuddly male Nurse would reccomend if you got insurance, you get vacc. for Hep A.
As you sort of pointed out, health, social, and other conditions in the United States, make Hepatitis A a relatively infrequent disease to acquire. Also, immunity lasts for about 4 years after administration of 3 doses, not to mention that it has some minor adverse effects that occur in up to 30% of patients, and some serious allergic reactions that occur much less frequently but still, if you get the shots you are entering the lottery.
Current recommendations are as follows:
- Chronic liver disease
- Receptor of clotting factor concentrates
- Illegal drug users
- Homosexual men
- Health workers or people handling potentially infected material
- Travelers to endemic areas
Putting the vaccine without any indication whatsoever but the desire to obtain immunity is like taking an aspirin in the morning just in case you get a headache during the day. Considering that immunity is not forever, unless you’re planning to do this routinely every 4 years or so, in the unlikely event that you get exposed without any risk factors, you might still get the disease. So, why not better go to see a doctor if you think you might be at risk instead.
Hep B is potentially fatal and will periodically flare up and damage your liver for the rest of your life if you contract it.
Since you are a nurse with 20+ years of experience, I suppose you are referring to chronic Hepatitis B infection, which occurs (we are talking about adults here) in about 1-2% of immunocompetent individuals after resolution of the acute phase. The other 98% -huge majority- of people that get infected, eventually get cured and automatically (and possibly better) immunized.