Wednesday, November 29, 2023

How To Protect Yourself From Hepatitis C

Ways Hepatitis C Doesnt Spread

How To Protect Yourself Against Hepatitis A

The hepatitis C virus spreads through blood, but it isnt known to spread through other bodily fluids.

It isnt transmitted in food or water, or by sharing eating utensils or dishes with an infected person. You cant spread it by casual contact such as hugging or holding hands. Its not transmitted in a kiss, a cough, or a sneeze. Mothers with hepatitis C can safely breastfeed. Even mosquito and other insect bites wont spread it.

In short, you have to come into direct contact with infected blood.

Final Word On Hepatitis C Prevention

If left untreated, hepatitis C can cause many complications, such as cirrhosis of the liver, liver damage, and liver failure. But the good news is that hepatitis C is a preventable virus, as long as you take the necessary precautions. If you become infected, starting treatment can improve your liver health and lessen the likelihood of spreading the virus to others.

What To Do If You Live With Someone Who Has Hepatitis C

If you live with someone who has hepatitis C, theres no reason to avoid close personal contact. Feel free to touch, kiss, and cuddle.

The most important thing you can do to prevent getting the virus is to avoid contact with the infected persons blood. Blood can be infectious even when its dry. In fact, the virus can live in blood on surfaces for up to three weeks.

Thats why you should take great care when cleaning up blood spills, however small or old they are.

Here are a few tips for dealing with blood:

  • If you see blood, assume its infectious.
  • If you have to clean or touch a blood spill, wear disposable gloves. Inspect the gloves for tears and holes before using them.
  • Mop up using paper towels or disposable rags.
  • Disinfect the area with a solution of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water.
  • When finished, dispose of the rags or paper towels in a plastic bag. Remove the gloves carefully and dispose of them as well.
  • Wear gloves if you have to touch used bandages or menstrual products that werent disposed of properly.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after coming into contact with blood, even if you wore gloves.

Some personal care items can sometimes contain a small amount of blood. Dont share things like a toothbrush, razor, or manicure scissors.

If you think you may have been exposed to the virus, contact your doctor to find out when you can be tested. Early treatment can help prevent serious liver damage.

Also Check: What Is Hepatitis C And What Causes It

World Hepatitis Day: How To Protect Yourself From Hepatitis

The disease is both preventable and curable

Hepatitis affects around 12 million people in Pakistan.

Within the Eastern Mediterranean region, which we are a part of, Pakistan shares 80% of the disease burden with Egypt, according to the World Health Organisation .

The disease, though widespread and often deadly, is both preventable and curable. The great tragedy of our population is the lack of awareness of safe practices that can protect them from the hepatitis virus.

According to the WHO, the risk factors for hepatitis B and C the most fatal types are therapeutic injections, syringe reuse, surgery, improper sterilization of invasive medical devices, blood transfusion, hospitalisation and sharing of razors while getting a shave from barbers.

The measures you can take

Taking precautionary measures can greatly reduce your risk of contracting the disease. In Pakistan, most cases of hepatitis B and C are attributed to syringe reuse and inadequate sterilisation of medical instruments, says the Pakistan Health Research Council, the focal body for hepatitis.

The next time you visit a hospital for a medical, surgical or dental procedure, make sure to ask whether the equipment has been sterilised before use. If youre getting an injection, never buy syringes that arent packed properly.

As a lot of misinformation exists about hepatitis, its important to remember that the disease cannot be spread by:

#Hepatitis CANNOT be spread through

shaking hands

Recommendations For Prevention And Control Of Hepatitis C Virus Infection And Hcv

Why Isn

Terms and Abbreviations Used in This PublicationAcute hepatitis C Newly acquired symptomatic hepatitis C virus

infection.ALT Alanine aminotransferase.Anti-HCV Antibody to HCV that develops in response to HCV

infection detectable in persons with acute, chronic,and resolved infection.AST Aspartate aminotransferase.Chronic HCV infection Persistent infection with HCV

characterized by detection of HCV RNA greater thanor equal to 6 months after newly acquired infection.Chronic hepatitis C Liver inflammation in patients with chronic

HCV infection characterized by abnormal levels ofliver enzymes.CSTE Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists.DNA Deoxyribonucleic acid.EIA Enzyme immunoassay.FDA U.S. Food and Drug Administration.HBV Hepatitis B virus.HCC Hepatocellular carcinoma.HCV Hepatitis C virus.HCV-positive Positive for anti-HCV as verified by supplemental

testing or positive for HCV RNA.HCV RNA Hepatitis C virus ribonucleic acid.HIV Human immunodeficiency virus.IG Immune globulin.IM Intramuscular.IV Intravenous.MSM Men who have sex with men.NHANES III Third National Health and Nutrition Examination

Survey.NIH National Institutes of Health.Positive predictive value Probability that a positive screening

test is truly positive dependent on prevalence ofdisease in a population.Qualitative RT-PCR for HCV RNA Test to detect HCV RNA by

sequences or by signal amplification.Resolved HCV infection Recovery following hepatitis C virus




Read Also: Where Can I Get Tested For Hepatitis B

Is There A Vaccine For Hepatitis

There are vaccines for hepatitis A and hepatitis B that are available in the U.S. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C. Since you can only get hepatitis D if you have hepatitis B, getting the vaccine against B should protect you against hepatitis D. There is no FDA approved vaccine against hepatitis E, but vaccines against hepatitis E exist overseas .

Is Hepatitis B Treatable

Yes. The treatment for hepatitis B depends on the type of infection. The 2 types of hepatitis B infection are acute or chronic .

Acute hepatitis B

When people first get infected with hepatitis B, it’s called acute hepatitis B. For many people, acute hepatitis goes away by itself and never becomes a chronic problem.

Some people with acute hepatitis B don’t have any symptoms and don’t need treatment. Others have mild symptoms that might feel like the flu. When symptoms happen, they usually last a few weeks though they can last longer. Its also possible for people with acute hepatitis B to get very sick and need to go to the hospital.

Children under age 6 who get acute hepatitis B are at high risk for developing chronic hepatitis. That’s why the hepatitis B vaccine is recommended for all babies.

Chronic hepatitis B

Some people who get acute hepatitis B develop a chronic hepatitis B infection. This means the infection will never go away. People with chronic hepatitis B may need to take medicine to help stop the virus from causing liver damage.

Also Check: How Do I Get Hepatitis C

Tips For Preventing Hepatitis

  • Ensure that you have a clean prep surface in advance
  • Do not divide and share drug solution with used equipment
  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after injecting
  • Clean the injection site with alcohol or soap and water before you inject
  • Apply pressure to the injection site using a sterile pad after using to stop bleeding
  • Do not handle other peoples injection equipment
  • Use a latex condom during sex
  • Know your partners sexual history
  • Have only one sexual partner

Addiction treatment can also help reduce risky behaviors that may increase your chances of contracting hepatitis.

How Serious Is Hepatitis C

Better Health Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C can be very serious for some people, but less serious for others. Most people who get hepatitis C have the virus for the rest of their lives. Most of these people have some liver damage, but many don’t feel sick. Some people with liver damage caused by HCV go on to get scarring of the liver, called cirrhosis and liver failure. These serious problems may take many years to develop.

Recommended Reading: What Does Hepatitis Feel Like

Dont Share Drug Needles Or Paraphernalia

New hepatitis C infections are more common among people who inject drugs, per past research. This is because many drug users share needles, and it only takes a single drop of infected blood for the virus to spread from person to person.

But the virus doesnt only spread through the use of drug needles. It can also spread when two people share a straw or dollar bill for snorting cocaine, when traces of blood are present in the nose.

The best way to prevent an infection is to stop injecting drugs. This will most likely involve getting treatment for substance abuse and addiction. At the very least, only use newly packaged sterile syringes and needles, and never share drug-injecting equipment with others.

Cost Of Hepatitis C Medicines

The newer direct-acting antiviral medicines for hepatitis C can be costly. Most government and private health insurance prescription drug plans provide some coverage for these medicines. Talk with your doctor about your health insurance coverage for hepatitis C medicines.

Drug companies, nonprofit organizations, and some states offer programs that can help pay for hepatitis C medicines. If you need help paying for medicines, talk with your doctor. Learn more about financial help for hepatitis C medicines.

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Needlestick Injuries Are Preventable

Promptly disposing of used needles in appropriate sharps disposal containers is one way you can help prevent needlestick injuries.

Healthcare personnel who use or may be exposed to needles are at increased risk of needlestick injury. Needlestick injuries can lead to serious or fatal infections with bloodborne pathogens such as hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, or HIV. Learn more about how to protect yourself and your coworkers from needlestick injuries.

Any worker who may come in contact with needles is at risk, including nursing staff, lab workers, doctors, and housekeepers. Whenever a needle or other sharp device is exposed, injuries can occur. Certain work practices may increase the risk of needlestick injury. Studies have shown that needlestick injuries are often associated with:

  • Not using safety-engineered sharps or using them incorrectly
  • Recapping needles
  • Transferring a body fluid between containers
  • Failing to dispose of used needles properly in puncture-resistant sharps containers

Prevent needlestick injuries

Needlestick injuries can be avoided by eliminating the unnecessary use of needles, using devices with safety features, and promoting education and safe work practices for handling needles and related systems.

As a healthcare professional, you can protect yourself from a needlestick injury by:

What to do if you experience a needlestick injury

How Can I Protect Myself From Hepatitis C

Protect Yourself. Know Your Risk. (infographic)

Don’t shoot or inject street drugs. If you already inject drugs, get into a treatment program and try to stop. If you can’t stop, never reuse or share syringes, drug works or the water for mixing your drugs. Get vaccinations for hepatitis A and hepatitis B.

  • Don’t share toothbrushes, razors or other personal care articles. They might have blood on them.

  • If you’re a health care worker, always follow routine barrier precautions and handle needles and other sharps in a safe way. Get vaccinated for hepatitis B.

  • Consider the risk if you get a tattoo or body piercing. You can get HCV infection if the tattoo tools are contaminated with someone else’s blood. The tattoo artist or body piercer should wash hands carefully and wear sterile gloves while working on your body.

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    How Can You Prevent The Spread Of Hepatitis C

    Now that you know how you get hepatitis C, you can take steps to protect yourself from the virus. For instance:

    • Avoid sharing needles or other paraphernalia related to intravenous drugs.
    • Wear gloves if youre a health care worker or otherwise exposed to needles or potentially infected blood.
    • Use barrier methodsaka condomsoutside of sexually monogamous relationships.
    • Dont share toothbrushes or other dental equipment, nail clippers, or shaving tools.
    • If youre getting a tattoo or piercing, make sure the artist or piercer uses sterile ink and needles.

    If you have the hepatitis C virus, you can prevent passing it along to others by following those same steps, in addition to:

    • Covering any open sores or wounds.
    • Telling all your health and dental care providers you have the virus.
    • Avoiding donating blood.

    What Are Hiv And Aids

    • HIV is a virus that attacks and weakens a person’s immune system. The immune system is made up of a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to protect the body and fight off germs and diseases.
    • If the immune system of an HIV-positive person gets so weak that it can no longer fight off a range of health problems it would normally be able to cope with, the person is considered to have AIDS.
    • HIV can be passed from person to person through blood, semen, vaginal fluids, breast milk and other body fluids. It can happen:
    • When a person has sex with someone who has the HIV virus and they do not use a condom
    • When people exchange infected needles or syringes
    • During pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding, when an HIV-positive mom can pass the virus to her baby .
  • There is no cure for HIV, but there are medicines that can keep the virus under control and the immune system healthy. So long as a person gets proper medical treatment for HIV, they can usually live a healthy, active life.
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    Why Should I Get A Test For Hepatitis C

    If you have hepatitis C, it’s important to find out early for these reasons:

    You need to learn how to avoid giving this infection to others.

  • You need a test for liver disease so you can get treatment, if it’s needed.

  • You need to learn how to protect your liver from further damage.

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    What Can Women Do

    Hepatitis B: Strategies for Protecting Yourself and Staying Healthy

    The most effective way to prevent HIV is to abstain from sexual activity and injection drug use. However, if you are sexually active or use injection drugs, today there are more tools available to prevent HIV. You can:

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    How Can I Prevent Spreading Hepatitis C To Others

    If you have hepatitis C, follow the steps above to avoid spreading the infection. Tell your sex partner you have hepatitis C, and talk with your doctor about safe sex practices. In addition, you can protect others from infection by telling your doctor, dentist, and other health care providers that you have hepatitis C. Dont donate blood or blood products, semen, organs, or tissue.

    How Common Is Hepatitis C In The United States

    In the United States, hepatitis C is the most common chronic viral infection found in blood and spread through contact with blood.14

    Researchers estimate that about 2.7 million to 3.9 million people in the United States have chronic hepatitis C.13 Many people who have hepatitis C dont have symptoms and dont know they have this infection.

    Since 2006, the number of new hepatitis C infections has been rising, especially among people younger than age 30 who inject heroin or misuse prescription opioids and inject them.15,16

    New screening efforts and more effective hepatitis C treatments are helping doctors identify and cure more people with the disease. With more screening and treatment, hepatitis C may become less common in the future. Researchers estimate that hepatitis C could be a rare disease in the United States by 2036.17

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    How Do Doctors Treat The Complications Of Hepatitis C

    If hepatitis C leads to cirrhosis, you should see a doctor who specializes in liver diseases. Doctors can treat the health problems related to cirrhosis with medicines, surgery, and other medical procedures. If you have cirrhosis, you have an increased chance of liver cancer. Your doctor may order an ultrasound test to check for liver cancer.

    If hepatitis C leads to liver failure or liver cancer, you may need a liver transplant.

    Protecting Yourself From Hepatitis


    Millions of Americans are living with viral hepatitis, but many do not know they are infected. Learn what you can do to protect yourself.

    Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus . HAV is found in the stool and blood of people who are infected.

    Hepatitis A is very contagious. It is spread when someone unknowingly ingests the virus through close personal contact with an infected person or through eating contaminated food or drink.

    Symptoms of hepatitis A can last up to 2 months and include fatigue, nausea, stomach pain, and jaundice. Most people with hepatitis A do not have long-lasting illness.

    Hepatitis B is a vaccine-preventable liver infection caused by the hepatitis B virus .

    Hepatitis B is spread when blood, semen, or other body fluids from a person infected with the virus. This can happen through sexual contact sharing needles, syringes, or other drug-injection equipment or from mother to baby at birth. Symptoms can include fatigue, poor appetite, stomach pain, nausea, and jaundice.

    For many people, hepatitis B is a short-term illness. For others, it can become a long-term, chronic infection that can lead to serious, even life-threatening health issues like cirrhosis or liver cancer.

    Hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver cancer. Today, most people become infected with the hepatitis C virus by sharing needles or other equipment used to prepare and inject drugs.

    Also Check: How To Cure Hepatitis C Naturally

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