The symptoms of hepatitis A develop, on average, around
The symptoms of hepatitis A develop, on average, around * four weeks after becoming infected, although not everyone with the infection will experience them.*
See your GP if you think you could have been infected with the virus. A blood test will be needed to rule out more serious conditions that have similar symptoms.
The initial symptoms of hepatitis A can include:
- feeling tired and generally unwell
- joint and muscle pain
- a mild fever – usually no higher than 39C (102.2F)
- loss of appetite
- feeling or being sick
- pain in the upper-right part of your tummy
- a headache, sore throat and cough
- constipation or diarrhoea
- a raised, itchy rash (hives)
These symptoms usually last from a few days up to a couple of weeks.
After the initial symptoms, the following symptoms may develop:
- yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)
- dark urine
- pale stools
- itchy skin
- the upper-right part of your tummy becoming swollen and tender
Most people make a full recovery within a couple of months, although the symptoms can come and go for up to six months.
Signs of a serious problem
Hepatitis A isn't usually a serious illness, but in rare cases it can cause the liver to stop working properly (liver failure).
In addition to the symptoms above, signs of liver failure can include:
- sudden, severe vomiting
- a tendency to bruise and bleed easily (for example, frequent nosebleeds or bleeding gums)
- problems with memory and concentration
- drowsiness and confusion
Get medical advice as soon as possible if you experience these symptoms. Liver failure can be life-threatening if not treated quickly.
Page last reviewed: 19/04/2016
Next review due: 31/03/2019