Hepatitis is an infection of the liver caused by various viruses. There about seven recognized viruses responsible for the infection of the liver:–hepatitis A, B, C, D, E, F and G. Of these A, B, C, and E are of greatest concern to health practitioners. Collectively all the types of hepatitis kill about 1.4 million people globally every year. However not much is known by the public about the disease and hence not much is done in the way of prevention on personal level.
We have discussed Hepatitis A and B, today we shall move on to Hepatitis C.
More than 100 million people world-wide are chronically infected by the hepatitis C virus and are therefore carriers; of that, about 15 percent are in North America and Europe with the rest in Africa and Asia.
Hepatitis C is recognized world-wide as the major cause of chronic hepatitis, liver cancer and liver cirrhosis.
Though Hepatitis C infection can be cured within three months of anti-viral drugs administration, there is no vaccination against the disease.
However, you can do a lot to avoid the infection.
1. Exercise extreme precaution when treating hepatitis C patients.
If you are a healthcare practitioner you must exercise extreme precaution when treating hepatitis C patients. This helps to prevent the entry of the hepatitis C virus into the body of the healthcare worker or a care giver or a close relative caring for a hepatitis C patient. This can happen if the skin of the carer is pierced accidentally by a sharp object such as a needle during treatment, splashing of infectious materials or wiping the face with contaminated hands or after handling contaminated objects.
Consequently only disposable needles and syringes should be used, where that is not possible, they must be sterilized before re-use.
In the same vein, all blood and blood contaminated materials must be handled with utmost care.
2. Avoid the use of common items.
We must avoid the use of common items such as tooth brushes, foot brushes, razors, and towels. This can aid the spread of the hepatitis C virus.
3. Avoid contact with infected persons.
As stated in 2 above, close contact with infected persons promotes infection. Close relations and friends must reduce contact with hepatitis C patient.
4. Avoid use of unsterilized sharp objects.
This mainly concerns drug addicts and healthcare providers. The use of disposable needles for injections of– and by those who are sick is a MUST; surgical instruments must be well sterilized before use. Same applies to drug addicts.
5. Practice safe sex by use of condoms
The hepatitis C virus may be present in the saliva, semen or vaginal fluids of hepatitis C patient, consequently the disease can spread through sexual intercourse. Spread of the disease can therefore be prevented by safe sex practice since some spouses can be carriers.
6. Desist from homosexuality.
Owing to more friction and cuts which are more associated with male homosexual practice, the latter tends to promote the spread of hepatitis C. Besides the semen of patient and carriers contain the virus.
Therefore desisting from homosexual practice helps to reduce the spread of the disease.
7. Practice Personal hygiene.
Always wash your hands with soap and water after contact with an infected patient followed by the use of sanitizer. The virus cannot survive the soap and off course washing also removes visible dirt.