July 28th is World Hepatitis day

World Hepatitis Day

July 28th 2013

 

What is Hepatitis?

 

Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E are all an inflammation of the liver usually caused by an infection that can lead to liver cancer. Around 150 million people have hepatitis C and 240 million people have hepatitis B. Together Hepatitis B and C kill, on average, one million people a year.

 

How Does One Get Infected?

 

Hepatitis B or C can infect someone through blood transfusions with unscreened blood, interventions used without sterilization, childbirth, sharing drug equipment, sharing toothbrushes or razors, tattooing, and body piercings. Hepatitis B can also be spread through unprotected sex with an infected person.  

 

How is Hepatitis Prevented?

 

Hepatitis B can be prevented with a vaccination, however there is no vaccine for Hepatitis C.  You can prevent it by make sure you do not come into contact with an infected person’s blood, saliva, semen, or vaginal fluids. Knowing if you are infected will help prevent others from getting infected.

 

How is it Diagnosed?

 

Hepatitis B is diagnosed by looking for HB surface antigen in your blood. This will occur six to twelve weeks after infection. Once diagnosed your doctor will do more tests to see how long you have been infected, if you need to be treated, and how much, if at all, it is hurting your body. Hepatitis C is diagnosed by looking for HCV antibodies in your blood. This will show up seven to nine weeks after infections.

 

How is Hepatitis Treated?

 

Treatment is individualized and you should consult your doctor to see what the best treatment for you is. Not everyone will need treatment. Hepatitis C treatment can cure the virus rather than just control it like Hepatitis B treatment. The main prescription medication for treatment of Hepatitis C cures about 50% of the patients that use it.

 

 

**It is best to see your primary care physician regularly in order to prevent against and be screened for Hepatitis. Please call 773-702-0660 to make an appointment at Friend Family Health Center.**

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