Symptoms of hepatitis A usually do not appear until you have had the virus for about a month. Adults are more likely to develop severe symptoms than children and infected children under the three years of age often do not become ill. Initial symptoms can range from mild to severe and may include the following:
- Abrupt onset of fever
- Poor appetite
- Stomach and abdominal pain
After a few days, these symptoms are typically followed by dark (“tea-colored”) urine and jaundice (a yellow discoloration of the skin and whites of the eyes). The disease is rarely fatal and most people recover with no complications within one to two weeks, although they may continue to feel tired for a few more weeks.
Infected individuals can spread the virus for one to two weeks before showing any symptoms and for one week after jaundice occurs. Children and infants may occasionally be contagious for longer periods of time.