Viral hepatitis is a health condition which causes damage and inflammation to the liver due to infectious and non-infectious diseases. It can be acute or chronic and spread from person to person through sexual contact, sharing needles and more. There are five hepatitis viruses, namely, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, hepatitis D, and hepatitis E. You can avoid getting hepatitis by practising safe sex, limiting alcohol intake, and not sharing needles. Early detection of hepatitis is necessary as it can result in health conditions like liver failure, liver cancer, weakened immune system, and may cause death in rare cases.
How Can Hepatitis Spread
- Hepatitis A can spread through food, sexual contact or water contaminated by an infected person’s stool.
- Hepatitis B and hepatitis C can be transmitted by sharing dirty needles, direct contact with an infected person’s blood, needle stick injuries, having sex with an infected person, or being born from a person infected with it.
- You can get hepatitis D if you are infected with hepatitis B or have sexual contact or share needles with an infected person.
- Hepatitis E is caused due to poor sanitation and is waterborne.
Here are some lifestyle measures that you can follow to prevent liver damage caused by viral hepatitis
- Drink clean water or install purifiers with UV or RO. Candle filters should be added to apartment complexes that use bore well water. Use bottled water when you are travelling outside.
- Avoid food stands on the side of the road, especially those that sell juice and milkshakes.
- Sharing razor blades and metal scrappers used to remove blackheads and whiteheads from face skin can result in infection. This can happen if the blades are not properly sterilised or are not disposable. Therefore, take precautions while getting tattoos or body piercings.
- Practice safe sex, as hepatitis B is mostly transmitted through sex.
- Avoid sharing needles. You can get infected with the virus if you share needles with an infected person.
- Get yourself vaccinated against hepatitis A and hepatitis B. Ensure that you have taken all the doses to boost your immune system.
- Limit the alcohol intake as it can cause severe damage to your liver
- Maintain personal hygiene by washing hands regularly and avoiding stale food or water.
Early Symptoms Of Hepatitis
Early detection can lower the severity of the virus. If you notice some of these symptoms that are persistent, contact your doctor immediately.
- You may face loss of appetite
- It may cause chronic fatigue
- Your eyes and skin may appear yellowish
- You may face pain and swelling in your abdomen region
- Your urine or stool may become dark in colour
- Nausea and vomiting
It is important to take these preventive measures and get yourself vaccinated against hepatitis A and hepatitis B. Before planning pregnancy, get yourself tested for hepatitis, as it can infect your baby. The Hepatitis B vaccine and hepatitis B antibody must be administered to infants born to parents with the virus within 12 hours of birth. Hepatitis can be diagnosed through ultrasound, liver function tests, or liver biopsy. Take precautions and prevent the risk of spreading it to others by getting tested.