Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C

What is Hepatitis A , B and C? 

How to prevention them?

What is Hepatitis A and B vaccination?

Before we talk about Hepatitis,

Let’s understand what the word means: Hepa- means Liver and -titis means inflammation.

Hence hepatitis is an Inflammation of the liver.

What is a liver and Why is it so important ?

Well, the liver has many functions for the body; it:

  • Processes all food and most drugs we eat
  • Makes bile to help digest food
  • Stores iron reserves, as well as vitamins and minerals
  • Detoxifies poisonous chemicals, including alcohol and drugs
  • Stores energy by stockpiling sugar until needed
  • Manufactures new proteins
  • Makes clotting factors to help blood clot

So what causes Hepatitis?

There are several known viruses that cause hepatitis including hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is caused by the Hepatitis A virus (HAV) which is spread by (Stool-To-Mouthfecal-oral route.

Things you can do to protect yourself from Hep A includes:

  • Drink water from a clean source
  • Consuming clean food that is protected from flies
  • Ensure good hygiene and sanitation
  • Washing your hands with soap and water after using the toilet

The ideal way to prevent hepatitis A is getting vaccinated with the hepatitis A vaccine!

Hepatitis B 

Hep B is caused by the HBV virus.

It spreads when blood, semen, or other body fluid of the infected enters the body of a person who is not infected.

How this can be transmitted includes during activities such as: 

  • Birth (spread from an infected mother to her baby during birth)
  • Unprotected Sex with an infected partner
  • Sharing contaminated needles, syringes, or other drug-injection equipment
  • Unsterile tattooing or piercing
  • Sharing items such as razors or toothbrushes with an infected person
  • Direct contact with the blood or open sores of an infected person
  • Exposure to blood from needle sticks or other sharp instruments

Remember, Hepatitis B virus does not spread by sharing eating utensils, breastfeeding, hugging, kissing, holding hands, coughing, or sneezing.

Prevention of Hepatitis B 

Things you can do to protect yourself from Hepatitis B include:

  • Practice safe sex (use condoms).
  • Don’t share personal items that could have an infected person’s blood on it, i.e. toothbrushes, razors, nail clippers, body piercing instruments.
  • Don’t share drug needles, cocaine straws or any drug paraphernalia.
  • Cover all sores and rashes
  • Clean up any blood spills with a 10% solution of household bleach.
  • The ideal way to prevent hepatitis B is by getting the hepatitis B vaccine!

Hepatitis C

Hep C is caused by HCV virus.

It spreads when the blood of the infected enters the body of a person who is not infected.

Some people could be carrying the virus and display no symptoms at all

This is doubly risky, as they could transmit the virus to others.

Things you can do to protect yourself from Hepatitis C include:

  • Avoid handling anything that may have the blood (especially sharps ) of an infected person on it, such as razors, scissors, nail clippers
  • Don’t share drug needles, cocaine straws or any drug paraphernalia.
  • Practice safe sex (use condoms)
  • There is NO vaccine to prevent HCV!

However, being vaccinated for hepatitis B provides some protection against Hepatitis C!

Also checkout:

HIV and Hep C coinfection window period

(This article  is written by Our Guest writer Dr Mastura Shahrum)

Take care gals!

Dr. Mastura Shahrum

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