Hepatitis is an inflammatory disease that affects the liver and can be caused by infection, immune response or toxins (for example, alcohol abuse or certain drugs or poisons). The most common forms are known as Hepatitis A, B and C. We offer some recommendations for traveling safely if your son has this disease.
The first one, Hepatitis A, tends to occur in unhygienic environments or from drinking polluted water, eating shellfish from brackish water or washing vegetables in contaminated water.
Hepatitis B is transmitted through infected blood and body fluids and by sexual contact, while Hepatitis C is usually contracted by contamination with infected blood, such as in a blood transfusion. Blood transfusions are strictly controlled nowadays, with a specific blood test carried out to rule out any kind of contagion, but before 1992 this was a common way of catching hepatitis.
Both Hepatitis A and B can be cured without medical intervention; in other words, treatment may not be necessary, though this is something that must be determined by a specialist. In the case of Hepatitis C, numerous drugs have been developed in the last few years to attack the different enzymes that encourage the virus to spread, with successful cure rates.
Generally speaking, unless you have to transport medicines (and a copy of the prescription) and there are no medical contraindications, you do not need to take any special precautions when traveling by car with a child infected by the hepatitis virus. In the case of Hepatitis B, for some time now the vaccine has been included in the child immunization schedule and vaccinations are given shortly after birth; cases of Hepatitis A are quite uncommon and found mainly in developing countries, and the vaccine is generally recommended for people who handle food, work in unhygienic conditions or work with children.
When traveling by airplane, you should ask your doctor for advice, more than anything because of the conditions of the airplane itself: loss of air pressure in the cabin; barotrauma; low humidity or the lack of mobility that comes from spending several hours in a narrow airplane seat. Consequently, an appointment with a specialist before you travel is a must for anyone suffering from any form of hepatitis.
You should remember that the disease is contagious and depending on the stage it has reached it might be completely inadvisable to travel by plane or other forms of passenger transport. Once again, this should be assessed by a specialist in each individual case.