World Hepatitis Day - Tips To Help You Prevent Yourself!
World Hepatitis Day or WHD takes place every year on 28 July and it is designed to raise awareness about viral hepatitis and to influence real change. WHD, endorsed by the World Health Organization, unites patient organisations, governments, medical professionals, and civil society, as well as the public, to boost prevention measures for fighting viral hepatitis like vaccination.
In the simple terms, hepatitis means injury to your liver due to inflammation. There are five main types of hepatitis and the type that you are suffering from is determined by a laboratory test. All the five main types of hepatitis are caused by viruses. Out of the five, Hepatitis C and B are quite big. Globally, around 250 million people are affected by hepatitis C and 300 million people are estimated to be hepatitis B carriers.
Fact sheet on hepatitis
- Hepatitis A & E is caused by consuming contaminated water.
- Hepatitis B, C and D is transmitted through infected blood to blood contact.
- Hepatitis C is usually spread via direct contact with the blood of an infected person.
- The initial symptoms of hepatitis are the same as those of flu.
- Hepatitis can heal on its own causing no significant liver damage; however, if it progresses, it can cause extensive liver scarring and extensive damage of your liver.
Most liver damage is caused by 3 hepatitis viruses, and these are hepatitis A, B and C.
How do you safeguard yourself against infection from these three dangerous hepatitis viruses?
The most common cause of concer is that a lot of us who are infected with hepatitis, especially hepatitis B don’t know that we are. The biggest bulwark against hepatitis is periodic testing and vaccination. Vaccination is available for most hepatitis viruses including A and B, which tend to be extra virulent.
So, do take care and go for periodic testing. We are reiterating this because if you are infected with hepatitis B and are not treated you can develop serious problems of the liver, including liver cancer. In fact, nearly 1 in 4 people living with hepatitis B develop serious liver problems including liver cancer. Hepatitis B related liver cancer is a leading cause of fatality and getting tested for hepatitis can help you access life-saving treatments that can prevent serious liver damage.
Other ways to prevent hepatitis are
- Wash your hands with soap after using the toilet
- Only consume freshly-cooked food
- Only drink bottled or boiled water
- Only eat fruits that can be peeled. Don’t eat fruit that has been cut and kept
- Avoid eating raw vegetables
- Vaccinate yourself against hepatitis A if you travel a lot.
- Practice safe sex by using condoms
- Only use new syringes for injections
- Do not share toothbrushes, razors, or manicure instruments with others
- Vaccinate yourself against hepatitis B
- Take care while getting tattooed. Only use brand new tattoo needles. Also, ask for new needles during acupuncture treatments.
- Avoid sharing toothbrushes, razors, and manicure equipment
- Cover open wounds if you are infected
- Don’t share needles. Always ask for fresh needles.
- Use only well-sterilized equipment for acupuncture, piercing, and tattooing etc.
- Cut down on alcohol
- Do not share drug needles
If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor.