6 simple ways you can avoid hepatitis

There are many ways you can come into contact with any form of hepatitis. Here are six easy ways you can reduce your chances of catching the virus, and how to get treatment if you've been exposed.

6 simple ways you can avoid hepatitis

1. Get vaccinated

  • The number one way to prevent hepatitis A, B and D is with a vaccine.
  • Unfortunately, there are no vaccines for hepatitis C and E yet, though researchers are working on them.
  • Researchers say that you can reduce your risk of hepatitis B by up to 95 percent by getting vaccinated.

2. Wash up

  • Not everyone hits the sink on the way out of the bathroom. Contact with infected persons or objects could lead to a hepatitis A infection.
  • If you're travelling to a country where hepatitis A is prevalent, wash with soap and water whenever you can. For times when you can't, carry hand wipes.
  • Always wash up after using the toilet, changing a diaper and before preparing food.

3. Use condoms

Safe sex is one of the best ways to prevent transmission of the hepatitis B virus.

4. Stay away from recreational injected drugs

The most common cause of infection with hepatitis B and C viruses is use of injected recreational drugs, often beginning in adolescence or early adulthood.

5. Get your own razor

Using razors, toothbrushes or any other personal item that could have come in contact with an infected person's blood can lead to hepatitis B or C infection.

6. Choose your tattoo parlor carefully

  • It's possible, though unlikely, that you'll get more than you bargained for when you get a tattoo, usually in the form of hepatitis C.
  • Make sure the tattoo parlor you choose is licensed. Check with your provincial and local health departments.
  • Choose an establishment that looks clean and tidy, and uses an autoclave to sterilize all equipment.
  • The artist should remove the needles and tubes from a sealed package and wear gloves while working.

7. Seek treastment immediately

  • If you think you've been exposed to the hepatitis A virus, see your doctor as soon as possible. They may give you a shot of immune globulin, which contains antibodies that destroy the virus.
  • The sooner you receive the shot after being exposed to the virus — ideally, within two weeks — the more likely it will work.

From a chance encounter to travelling where the virus is particularly prevalent, there are many ways to contract hepatitis. But if you practice safe, personal hygiene, your chances of contracting this virus could go down.

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