What are the Best Tips for Preventing Hepatitis?

Lainie Petersen

Hepatitis is an inflammatory liver disease that can become debilitating and eventually lead to death. Preventing hepatitis is often a lot easier than effectively treating it, so it is important for individuals to take precautions to avoid contracting or spreading the virus. Tactics for preventing hepatitis vary according to the type of hepatitis, but in general involve getting vaccinated against hepatitis, practicing good hygiene, and, in some cases, practicing safer sex.

Hand washing after using the toilet is critical to prevent the spread of Hepatitis A.
Hand washing after using the toilet is critical to prevent the spread of Hepatitis A.

There are several different types of hepatitis. Hepatitis A is typically transmitted through exposure to an infected person's feces. Hepatitis B can be transmitted through contact with urine, blood, or vaginal fluids or semen. Hepatitis C is usually transmitted through direct contact with infected blood.

Sharing needles can spread hepatitis.
Sharing needles can spread hepatitis.

Effective vaccines for both hepatitis A and B exist, so individuals who are potentially at risk for these conditions should consider getting vaccinated. Since preventing hepatitis A often involves reducing exposure to infected feces, washing hands thoroughly after using the toilet and before and after handling food is a good practice. Hepatitis A can also be spread through the water supply. If you live in an area with inadequate water sanitation facilities, consider boiling your water before consuming it or simply drinking bottled water.

Drinking bottled water can help reduce the risk of contracting a water-borne infection.
Drinking bottled water can help reduce the risk of contracting a water-borne infection.

Preventing hepatitis B can be a bit more complex. Avoid sharing grooming and personal care items, such as toothbrushes, razors, or nail clippers, as these may contain traces of blood. General cleanliness in the bathroom is also important. Keep the toilet and surrounding areas well scrubbed and practice regular hand-washing. As hepatitis B can be spread through sexual contact, individuals should be careful about whom they have sex with and use condoms or dental dams during sexual activity. Medical offices and clinics should be careful about the disposal of medical tools, samples, and bandages.

Sharing nail clippers can spread hepatitis.
Sharing nail clippers can spread hepatitis.

Hepatitis C is primarily spread through contact with blood. Though hepatitis C is one of the most dangerous forms of hepatitis, sufferers may experience no symptoms, though damage to the liver may be taking place. Hepatitis C can be spread by sharing hypodermic needles or through other direct contact with blood. While hepatitis C is generally not spread through casual or sexual contact, it is generally wise for individuals to use condoms or dental dams during sex with those who may be infected with hepatitis C. As with hepatitis B, strict precautions should be taken when disposing of medical tools and bandages that may have been exposed to the blood of someone with hepatitis C.

Using safe sex practices can help reduce an individual's chances of contracting hepatitis.
Using safe sex practices can help reduce an individual's chances of contracting hepatitis.
Unsanitary living conditions can spread the hepatitis A virus.
Unsanitary living conditions can spread the hepatitis A virus.
Sharing razor blades may spread hepatitis.
Sharing razor blades may spread hepatitis.
The proper disposal of medical tools such as needles helps prevent exposure to hepatitis.
The proper disposal of medical tools such as needles helps prevent exposure to hepatitis.

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