How not to get sick with hepatitis?
Hepatitis is an unpleasant and dangerous disease that is transmitted in different ways. But to protect from it is quite possible, if you follow certain rules.
Ways of infection
To learn how to protect yourself and keep healthy, you need to find out the main ways of contracting the disease. Hepatitis A is considered to be a “disease of dirty hands”, as it is transmitted mainly through food contaminated and not sufficiently heat-treated, as well as through water containing the virus-pathogen.
As for hepatitis B or C, these diseases are transmitted sexually and through the blood. There are the following ways of infection:
- during blood transfusions and other medical procedures, such as hemodialysis;
- when using infected syringes and other medical instruments;
- when using contaminated accessories, appliances and personal care items, such as manicure accessories, razors, tattoo machine needles, toothbrushes and other things that may contain blood particles;
- with unprotected sexual intercourse;
- from mother to child during childbirth (perinatal transmission);
- when contacting infected biological fluids.
Who is at risk? If we are talking about hepatitis A, then this category can include people from disadvantaged families, homeless people, as well as people who do not observe simple rules of personal hygiene.
The likelihood of contracting hepatitis B or C is increased for the following categories:
- drug addicts, especially non-sterile needles for injection;
- persons who undergo regular medical procedures;
- promiscuous people who do not use protective equipment, namely condoms;
- children born to infected mothers;
- employees of medical institutions and laboratories in contact with biological materials and liquids (for example, nurses, laboratory technicians, surgeons);
- people using common personal hygiene items or accessories;
- closest relatives of infected individuals.
How to provide protection?
How not to get sick with hepatitis? Tips for those who want to protect themselves and their loved ones:
- When visiting clinics, beauty salons or offices and other institutions,in which manipulations are performed that imply the integrity of the tissues (for example, tattoo or piercing studios), ensure that the specialist uses only disposable sterile instruments. Ask him to open them with you to make sure everything is in order.
- If you are at risk or just worried about possible infection, get a prophylactic vaccine. Currently, there are vaccines against hepatitis A and B. Drugs that could protect against a type C virus are only being developed and tested, therefore they are not yet used in medical practice.
- To protect against hepatitis A, you should not consume water and products of unknown origin, as well as those who have not been heat treated. Water must always be boiled (not filtered, the hepatitis virus dies only at high temperatures), and the products washed in hot water or fully cooked (this applies to raw meat and fish). You should also follow the rules of food storage.
- Do not forget about the rules of personal hygiene: after visiting the toilet and public places, as well as before each meal, wash your hands.
- Do not bathe in polluted water bodies and do not visit natural uninhabited beaches.
- To avoid sexually transmitted infections, do not lead a promiscuous life and always use condoms. And even if you are in contact with only one regular partner, go with him to the clinic and take a blood test for hepatitis, so that both can be confident in the honesty and health of each other.
- Use only personal hygiene items and accessories: manicure accessories, razor, toothbrush, washcloth, and so on.
- Do not allow direct contact with biological materials and fluids. And if you work in a medical institution, and such contacts are part of your duties, then before any manipulation wear personal protective equipment: gloves, a suit and a mask. In addition, immediately dispose of used tools and handle them with extreme care.
How to find out about the infection?
Hepatitis may not appear for a long time (the incubation period in some cases reaches several months) or have uncharacteristic blurred symptoms, among which is not the notorious and considered clear sign of jaundice.So if you are in one of the risk groups listed above, then you should take blood tests regularly, they will reveal such a disease at an early stage of development. Fortunately, modern medicine allows you to treat hepatitis, and successfully. But to avoid undesirable and serious consequences, you need to consult a doctor in time and begin therapy.
Full and competent prevention will help you protect yourself and your family and avoid hepatitis.