Jaundice

How much time does it take to cure regular jaundice in adults?

  • “Regular jaundice”, is usually viral hepatitis.
  • There are 5 types of hepatitis viruses named A, B, C, D and E. Of these, A and E viruses can cause jaundice in the community through contaminated water or food.
  • If you have these viruses, they are self-limiting in >95% of cases. You should be feeling better in 2–4weeks and jaundice should be gone in 4–6 weeks. LFT reports may take longer to normalise completely. The maximum time taken is 6 months- in few cases.
  • If you have other causes of jaundice, this does not apply.

Can a jaundice patient eat pulses?

  • Proteins are very important and as a matter of fact more proteins are required to help in the recovery from illnesses including viral hepatitis.
  • Proteins do not require bile for digestion. There is no evidence to suggest that patients with hepatitis cannot digest proteins.
  • It is a common myth. Also prevalent amongst doctors.
  • Even if the jaundice is due to cirrhosis, protein need to be consumed at least 1g/kg unless there is encephalopathy (brain edema).

Is jaundice contagious?

  • There are a number of causes of jaundice.
  • The most common cause are viral infections. Viruses causes inflammation in the liver and hence this is known as “viral hepatitis”.
  • The viruses are labelled from A to E.
  • If these hepatitis A and hepatitis E spread through contaminated food/water (i.e. feco-oral route). These viruses are contagious. They cause outbreaks and epidemics especially in summer and in places with poor sanitation.
  • Other hepatitis viruses like B, C and D spread through blood products, infected needles or syringes and unsafe sexual practices.
  • There are non infectious causes of “hepatitis” and jaundice like medications, alcohol, Wilson's etc.