Why do we have to protect ourselves against hepatitis B or C?

Hepatitis is an infection that can damage your liver. A damaged liver can develop to fibrosis (scarring), cirrhosis and even liver cancer. There are 5 types of hepatitis, namely hepatitis A, B, C, D and E. Hepatitis A, B, and C are the most common ones. Since this medical condition is life-threatening and viral, knowing how to protect yourself against it is important.

How to protect yourself against hepatitis B or C?

Receive vaccines

Hepatitis B vaccines should be given to all children:

  • For babies: There are three shots in total. The first dose of vaccine is given right after they are born. The other two shots are given at 6 and 18 months old, respectively
  • For babies whose mothers have already had hepatitis B in the past or are having acute hepatitis B should receive a special vaccine shot with 12 hours of birth
  • Children under 19 years of age and have not been vaccinated before should receive “catch-up” doses

Adults should also get shots of vaccine, especially those at higher risk like:

  • Doctors, healthcare providers and those who work or live with hepatitis B infected person.
  • People with certain medical conditions including end-stage kidney disease, chronic liver disease, or HIV infection
  • Individuals who have more many sex partners; men who have sexual activities with other men
  • People who use recreational, injectable drugs

At the moment, vaccines for hepatitis C is not available.

Practice healthy lifestyle

Hepatitis viruses do not pass from one person to another through casual contact, like holding hands, sharing eating utensil or drinking glass, breastfeeding, kissing, hugging, coughing, or sneezing. People would get hepatitis B and C only if they come in contact with blood or bodily fluids of an infected person.

To avoid the risk, we should:

  • Keep personal stuff like razors, toothbrushes, or manicure sets for personal use. Do not share them with others
  • Do not share any drug equipment (like straws or needles)
  • Pay extra attention when getting body piercing or tattoo
  • If there are blood spills, clean them with suitable solutions
  • Practice safe sex (Before, during and after the sexual intercourse)

Other ways to stay safe from hepatitis B

For blood transfusion, always include the step of screening the donated blood. This will help reduce the chance of spreading hepatitis B.

Any recent case of hepatitis B infection should be reported to the health care community. This is to track the population that possibly come in contact with the virus and may develop hepatitis.

If a person contacts with the virus, within the first 24 hours, he should be given injections of either the hepatitis immune globulin (HBIG) shot or the hepatitis B vaccine. This may protect him from getting the infection.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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