PreventionBy Mayo Clinic staff
Reduce your risk of acute liver failure by taking care of your liver. Try to:
- Follow instructions on medications. If you take acetaminophen or other medications, check the package insert for instructions on the recommended dosage and don't exceed that dosage.
- Tell your doctor about all your medicines. Tell your doctor about over-the-counter and herbal medicines that you're taking. These can interfere with prescription drugs you're taking.
- Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink to no more than one drink a day for women and no more than two drinks a day for men.
- Avoid risky behavior. Get help if you use illicit intravenous drugs. Don't share needles used to inject drugs. If you choose to have sex, use condoms. If you choose to have tattoos or body piercings, be careful about cleanliness and safety when it comes to selecting a shop.
- Get vaccinated. If you're at increased risk of contracting hepatitis, if you've already been infected with any form of the hepatitis virus or if you have chronic liver disease, talk to your doctor about getting the hepatitis B vaccine. A vaccine is also available for hepatitis A.
- Avoid contact with other people's blood and body fluids. Hepatitis viruses can be spread by accidental needle sticks or improper cleanup of blood or body fluids. It's also possible to become infected by sharing razor blades or toothbrushes.
- Don't eat wild mushrooms. It can be difficult to distinguish an edible mushroom from a poisonous one.
- Take care with aerosol sprays. When you use an aerosol cleaner, make sure the room is ventilated, or wear a mask. Take similar protective measures when spraying insecticides, fungicides, paint and other toxic chemicals. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions.
- Watch what gets on your skin. When using insecticides and other toxic chemicals, cover your skin with gloves, long sleeves, a hat and a mask.
- Choose a healthy diet. Choose a plant-based diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables. Limit high-fat foods.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity can cause a condition called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which may include fatty liver, hepatitis and cirrhosis.
- Polson J, et al. AASLD position paper: The management of acute liver failure. Hepatology. 2005;41:1179.
- Fontana RJ. Acute liver failure. In: Feldman M, et al. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, Management. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-6189-2..X0001-7--TOP&isbn=978-1-4160-6189-2&about=true&uniqId=229935664-2192. Accessed May 27, 2011.
- An introduction to liver care. American Liver Foundation. http://www.liverfoundation.org/downloads/alf_download_29.pdf. Accessed May 27, 2011.