To help protect yourself from contracting hepatitis A, or to help prevent the spread of the virus if you have hepatitis A, your health care provider may recommend certain lifestyle changes and safety precautions.
Practice good hygiene. Transmission of the virus can be reduced by avoiding unclean food and water, thorough hand-washing, and thorough cleansing if there is any contact with an affected person's blood, feces, or any other bodily fluid.
Receive immune globulin or hepatitis vaccine. An injection of immune globulin can provide short-term protection, while hepatitis vaccine may protect for up to 20 years. Immune globulin should be given to people in close contact with people with hepatitis A. Vaccine begins to protect 4 weeks after receiving the first dose; the 6- to 12-month booster is required for long-term protection.
Follow safety precautions for international travelers. If you're traveling in regions where hepatitis A outbreaks occur, you can help prevent infection by peeling and washing all fresh fruits and vegetables and by avoiding raw or undercooked meat and fish. Be sure to drink bottled water and avoid ice cubes in beverages. If bottled water isn't available, boil tap water for at least 10 minutes before drinking it. Don't forget to use bottled water for tooth brushing.
Avoid sexual activity. Because many kinds of sexual activity can expose your partner to hepatitis A infection, condoms don't offer adequate protection.
Wash hands thoroughly after using the toilet. Scrub vigorously with soap for at least 10 seconds and rinse well. If possible, dry your hands with a disposable towel.
Use clean utensils. Keep your utensils separate from those used by other members of your household. Wash utensils and dishes in a dishwasher or with plenty of hot, soapy water.
Don't prepare food for others while you're actively infected. You can easily pass this highly contagious infection to other people.