How Can You Prevent Hepatitis B And Hepatitis C
Hepatitis B: Vaccination is the best way to prevent all of the ways that hepatitis B is transmitted. People with HIV who do not have active HBV infection should be vaccinated against it. In addition to the 3-dose series of hepatitis B vaccine given over 6 months, as of 2017, there is a 2-dose series given over 1 month.
Hepatitis C: No vaccine exists for HCV and no effective pre- or postexposure prophylaxis is available. The best way to prevent hepatitis C infection is to never inject drugs or to stop injecting drugs by getting into and staying in drug treatment. If you continue injecting drugs, always use new, sterile needles or syringes, and never reuse or share needles or syringes, water, or other drug preparation equipment.
Types Of Hepatitis C Infection
There are six major identified hepatitis C virus genotypes, that is, specific genetic sequencing of the virus. In the United States, genotypes 1, 2 and 3 are most common, with genotype 1 accounting for the majority of cases.
Your child’s genotype is important because certain genotypes respond better to treatment than others and the treatment regimen is different depending on the genotype. Your child’s doctor will test to see which genotype your child has before starting therapy for your child’s infection.
In addition to the genotypes of hepatitis C, there are two common forms of hepatitis C infection: acute and chronic.
How To Prevent Hepatitis C
There is currently no vaccine for hepatitis C. Avoiding contact with infected blood is the only way to prevent the condition.
The most common way for people to contract hepatitis C is by injecting street drugs. Because of this, the best way to prevent hepatitis C is to avoid injecting.
Treatments can help many people quit. People in the U.S. can call the National Helpline for help with finding treatments.
If a person finds it difficult to stop, they can reduce the risk of contracting hepatitis C by never sharing drug equipment, ensuring a clean, hygienic environment, and always using new equipment, including syringes, ties, alcohol swabs, cottons, and cookers.
People who may come into contact with infected blood, such as healthcare workers and caretakers, should always wash the hands thoroughly with soap and water after any contact, or suspected contact, with blood. They should also wear gloves when touching another persons blood or open wounds.
People can also reduce their risk by making sure that any tattoo artist or body piercer they visit uses fresh, sterile needles and unopened ink.
The risk of contracting hepatitis C through sexual contact is low. Using barrier protection, such as condoms, reduces the risk of most sexually transmitted infections.
People who have hepatitis C can reduce the risk of transmitting it to others by:
There are many misconceptions about how hepatitis C spreads. People cannot transmit or contract the virus through:
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Staying Healthy With Hepatitis
Not everyone needs treatment right away, but its important to be monitored regularly by an experienced doctor and discuss treatment options of the best way to keep you healthy.
- Get vaccinated against Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B
- Avoid alcohol and drugs
- Eat a healthy & balanced diet. Include a lot of vegetables and fruits try to stay away from too much salt, sugar and fat.
- Exercise regularly. Walking is one of the best exercises, and it helps to make you feel less tired.
- Check with a health professional before taking any prescription pills, supplements, or over-the-counter medications.
- Do not share razors, nail clippers, needles or other items that come in contact with blood with other people.
How Are Hepatitis B And Hepatitis C Spread From Person To Person
Like HIV, the hepatitis B and hepatitis C viruses spread:
- From mother to child: Pregnant women can pass these infections to their infants. HIV-HCV coinfection increases the risk of passing on hepatitis C to the baby.
- Sexually: Both viruses can also be transmitted sexually, but HBV is much more likely than HCV to be transmitted sexually. Sexual transmission of HCV is most likely to happen among gay and bisexual men who are living with HIV.
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Sharing Toothbrushes Scissors And Razors
There’s a potential risk that hepatitis C may be passed on through sharing items such as toothbrushes, razors and scissors, as they can become contaminated with infected blood.
Equipment used by hairdressers, such as scissors and clippers, can pose a risk if it has been contaminated with infected blood and not sterilised or cleaned between customers. However, most salons operate to high standards, so this risk is low.
Diagnosis Of Hepatitis C
The diagnosis of hepatitis C usually starts with a clinical suspicion of the disease. Patients often come to the doctors office with signs and symptoms of severe liver disease. In some cases, they detect a vulnerability and run specific tests to rule out various conditions. In any case, patients should run various exams to confirm the diagnosis of hepatitis C.
We can break them down into HCV-specific tests and additional tests. These tests are specific to detect a hepatitis C infection:
- Hepatitis C antibodies using rapid diagnostic tests or more reliable enzyme immunoassays
- Quantitative and qualitative HCV-RNA assays to evaluate the severity of the infection
- HCV genotyping tests to know which subtype of hepatitis C is causing the infection
- Serologic testing
- Sometimes, liver biopsy. It is only performed in case of coinfection, in patients with a severe immunocompromise, or in an uncertain diagnosis.
We also have additional tests usually performed in patients after a diagnosis is made or as a part of the diagnostic process:
- A complete blood count with a white blood cell differential count, useful to evaluate the users response to the viral load
- Serum bilirubin and albumin levels
- Glomerular filtration rate to evaluate kidney function in chronic patients
- Serologic tests against HIV due to a very likely association in some patients
- Tests to evaluate the presence of hepatitis B
- Thyroid function tests
- Pregnancy test to evaluate a womans eligibility for treatment
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The Most Common Way That Hep C Can Spread
The most common way that hep C can spread from person to person is by sharing needles. For people who use injection drug users, using a new needle each time and then properly disposing of that needle can reduce the risk of contracting and spreading hepatitis C. When preparing to inject drugs, be sure that the equipment is not shared. There is no way to clean a drug injection kit that will guarantee the removal of the hepatitis C virus.
What Is Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is a contagious liver infection caused by the hepatitis C virus .
The hepatitis C virus was discovered in 1989. Prior to that, it was associated with blood transfusions, but was called non-A, non-B hepatitis because the virus could not be identified. It is now known that there are several genetic types of the hepatitis C virus.
The natural course of hepatitis C disease varies from one person to another.
Hepatitis C can be treated and cured. Almost everyone living with HCV can now be cured with a one-pill-a-day regimen in eight-to-twelve weeks. These new medications are generally well-tolerated. In order to access HCV treatment, it is necessary to see your doctor to discuss treatment options. Access to treatment continues to improve as new medication regimens are made available by private health insurers and public health programs like the VA Medical Centers, the AIDS Drug Assistance Program, Medicaid, and MediCal.
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When To Seek Medical Advice
See your GP if you persistently have any of the later symptoms above, or if they keep returning. They may recommend having a blood test that can check for hepatitis C. Read more about diagnosing hepatitis C.
None of the symptoms above mean you definitely have hepatitis C, but it’s important to get them checked out.
You should also speak to your GP about getting tested if there’s a risk you’re infected, even if you don’t have any symptoms. This particularly includes people who inject drugs or have done so in the past.
Read about the causes of hepatitis C for more information about who’s at risk of having the infection.
S Of Transmission Of Hepatitis C Virus
The good news is that the virus does not spread easily, like many other viruses, . Hepatitis C virus is transmitted through direct contact with blood or body fluids of infected persons. Blood transfusion from an infected patient to a healthy person, can transmit infection. But, nowadays, accurate tests are performed before any blood donation or blood products, as a result, blood is no longer a common method of Hepatitis C virus transmission.
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Protecting The Blood Supply
One of the main problems with preventing hepatitis C is that most people who are infected donât show symptoms at first. Many only find out when they have a blood test for an unrelated reason. Until relatively recently, this often led to infected blood and organs being used in transfusions and transplants.
As of July 1992, all blood and organ donations are screened for the hepatitis C virus. Although not perfect, only about 1 in 2 million blood transfusions may transmit hepatitis C. Anyone who received a blood transfusion or organ donation before July 1992 should be tested for the virus.
As of 1987, all blood products for the treatment of hemophilia are treated to remove infectious viruses, such as hepatitis C and HIV. The CDC recommends that anyone over the age of 18 get tested for Hepatitis C. If you haven’t been screened, you should consider having it done and if you took any of these blood products before 1987, you should be proactive in being tested for hepatitis C.
What Are The Complications Of Undiagnosed Hepatitis C
- Hepatitis C is known to be associated with two skin conditions, lichen planus and porphyria cutanea tarda.
- Diabetes, heart disease, and arterial blockage are more common among patients with chronic hepatitis C infection than in the general population. It may be that liver damage and chronic inflammation caused by hepatitis C may affect the levels of blood fats and blood sugar.
- Low platelet counts may occur as a result of the destruction of platelets by antibodies.
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What Is The Best Way To Avoid Getting Hepatitis C
There is no vaccine for hepatitis C available yet, though there are active clinical trials to develop one. Unfortunately, these trials are still in the early stages and there is no information on when a hepatitis C vaccine will be available for public use.
The best way to avoid getting hepatitis C at this time is to avoid exposure to infected blood. Additionally, you should take the following precautions::
Do not share needles or any sharps that could be contaminated with blood.
Wear gloves if youre cleaning blood or anything with blood on it.
Use condoms when engaging in sexual activity.
Its also important to know that there are many strains of the hepatitis C virus. This means that people can get infected with hepatitis C more than once. So, even those who have been cured of hepatitis C in the past should continue to take precautions to avoid getting hepatitis C again.
Hepatitis C Symptoms & Treatment
Hepatitis C is found in infected blood. It is also rarely found in semen and vaginal fluids.
Hepatitis C is mainly passed on through using contaminated needles and syringes or sharing other items with infected blood on them. It can also be passed on through unprotected sex, especially when blood is present.
You can prevent hepatitis C by never sharing needles and syringes, practising safer sex, and avoiding unlicensed tattoo parlours and acupuncturists.
Hepatitis C will often not have any noticeable symptoms, but a simple blood test carried out by a healthcare professional will show whether you have hepatitis C.
In the early stages, some peoples bodies can clear a hepatitis C infection on their own, others may develop chronic hepatitis C and will need to take antiviral treatment to cure the infection.
Without treatment, chronic hepatitis C can lead to permanent liver damage.
Hepatitis C is part of a group of hepatitis viruses that attack the liver.
Its mainly passed on through contaminated needles, either from injecting drugs or from needle stick injuries in healthcare settings. It can also be transmitted sexually, especially during anal sex or other types of sex that may involve blood.
Some groups are more at risk of getting hepatitis C than others, including people who use drugs, people in prisons, men who have sex with men, health workers and people living with HIV.
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What Are The Different Methods Of Hepatitis C Transmission
Hepatitis Ctransmissionusually takes place when someone is exposed to the blood of a carrier of the hepatitis C virus. Exposure to infected blood is the biggest risk factor for hepatitis C transmission, and many people contracted hepatitis C via blood transfusions prior to the routine screening of the blood supply for contagious diseases. It is also possible to contract hepatitis C indirectly through contact with objects exposed to blood contaminated with hepatitis C. There have also been cases of hepatitis C transmission through sexual activity and from new mothers through their newborn infants, though both types of transmission are rare.
There are several types of hepatitis, all of of which affect the liver. Over time, hepatitis C can result in significant liver damage as well as liver cancer. Unlike those infected with other types of hepatitis, many people who have hepatitis C don’t have any discernible symptoms until and unless their liver becomes damaged. Once this happens, the health of a hepatitis C suffer can decline dramatically.
What Are The Symptoms And Consequences Of Infection
Approximately 20 percent of persons exposed to the virus develop symptoms which may include jaundice , fatigue, dark-colored urine, stomach pain, loss of appetite and nausea. After the initial infection, 15-25 percent will recover and 75-85 percent will become chronically infected . Approximately 70 percent of persons chronically infected may develop liver disease, sometimes decades after initial infection.
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Is Screening For Hepatitis C Recommended During Pregnancy
There is a 4%-7% risk of transmitting HCV from mother to infant with each pregnancy. Currently, there is no CDC recommendation for routine hepatitis C screening during pregnancy, and there is no currently recommended medicine to prevent transmission from mother to infant . However, CDC is monitoring research findings and may make recommendations in the future as evidence arises.
While data is still limited, a recent study of over 1,000 cases in the United Kingdom found that 11% of infants had been infected at birth, and that these infants were likely to develop cirrhosis in their early 30s. The case for screening for HCV during pregnancy includes the potential to safely treat mothers during pregnancy with direct-acting antiviral agents to treat the mother before cirrhosis develops, prevent infant transmission, and prevent transmission to others. Children born to HCV-infected mothers may also be offered treatment at an early age to prevent cirrhosis, as well as transmission to others. Coordination of care between multiple specialists will be important to accomplish these goals.
Children of HCV-infected mothers may be screened for hepatitis C as early as 1-2 months of age using hepatitis C viral load or PCR testing . Antibodies to hepatitis C passed from the mother to child will be present for up to 18 months, so children should be tested for HCV antibody no earlier than this.
How Is Hepatitis C Treated
Forty percent of people do not need treatment for hepatitis C because their immune systems are able to clear the virus on their own. However, if that doesnt happen, then medications called direct acting antiviral therapy are needed to help the immune system clear the virus. In 2011, the FDA approved the first DAAT for treating hepatitis C. Since then, many DAATs have hit the market with more in development. Common DAATs include:
These medications are usually taken by mouth for 8 to 12 weeks. Some people may need more than one course of treatment in order to be cured.
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What Is The Treatment For People With Acute Hepatitis C Infection
When people first get hepatitis C, the infection is said to be acute. Most people with acute hepatitis C do not have symptoms so they are not recognized as being infected. However, some have low-grade fever, fatigue or other symptoms that lead to an early diagnosis. Others who become infected and have a known exposure to an infected source, such as a needlestick injury, are monitored closely.
Treatment decisions should be made on a case-by-case basis. Response to treatment is higher in acute hepatitis infection than chronic infection. However, many experts prefer to hold off treatment for 8-12 weeks to see whether the patient naturally eliminates the virus without treatment. Approaches to treatment are evolving. Patients with acute hepatitis C infection should discuss treatment options with a health care professional who is experienced in treating the disease. There is no established treatment regimen at this time.
How effective is hepatitis C treatment? Is hepatitis C curable?
If the hepatitis C RNA remains undetectable at the end of the treatment and follow-up period, this is called a sustained virologic response and is considered a cure. Over 90% of people treated with DAAs are cured. These people have significantly reduced liver inflammation, and liver scarring may even be reversed.
About 5% of people who are treated for HCV infection are not cured by some of the older regimens. These people may still have options for cure with the newer regimens.