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Hepatitis Causes and Prevention

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Image is from National Hemophilia Foundation

Hepatitis means inflammation of a person’s liver cells due to an injury to the liver. There are different types of hepatitis you can get that can be determined through a laboratory test. Hepatitis can heal on its own without the need of treatment, but in some cases, treatment is necessary since the virus causes a chronic infection. The main types of hepatitis are A, B, C, D, and E. Hepatitis A, B, and C cause the most liver damage.

Hepatitis can be a symptom of another disease, and it is mainly a symptom of autoimmune diseases. The hepatitis is a disease that is mainly caused by a viral infection. Hepatitis often starts as an acute disease but can progress and become chronic if not detected early. The disease can cause liver cirrhosis, liver failure or liver cancer to the patient.

Causes of Hepatitis

Hepatitis can be caused by toxins from drugs, alcohol or other sources of toxins. It can also be caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites or an autoimmune disease where the body attacks the liver. However, the most known common cause of hepatitis is a virus.

Hepatitis A and E are short term viral infections that are mainly transmitted through water or food that is contaminated by human or animal waste. Other sources of these forms of hepatitis include under cooked food or raw food that has not been handled in a hygienic way.

Hepatitis B can be spread through having direct contact with infected blood. It can also be sexually transmitted or spread to a child during childbirth.

Hepatitis C can be spread through direct contact with infected blood. It is rare for the disease to be spread from mother to child during childbirth or during sexual intercourse.

Hepatitis D can also be spread through infected blood. However, you can only get hepatitis D if you were infected with hepatitis B. Those who are at the greatest risk of getting the infection include drug users since most share needles. Other at-risk groups include those who have unprotected sex with multiple partners.

Prevention

New cases of hepatitis have been significantly reduced through vaccinations. There are vaccines available for prevention of hepatitis A and B. the vaccinations are effective in reducing the number of infections in children as well as adults.

Currently, there is no vaccine for hepatitis D. however; the disease can be prevented once you get immunized for hepatitis B.

Babies who are delivered to mothers suffering from hepatitis B should get the vaccine within 12 hours of birth to prevent them from getting infections.

Other things that can be done to prevent infection include the following:

  • Washing your hands and encouraging other people to do the same with water and soap after changing a diaper, after coming from using the bathroom and before handling any food.
  • Avoid eating raw foods from unknown places and always drink bottled, boiled or chemically treated water.
  • Practice safe sex. Using condoms goes a long way in preventing the spread of the infection.
  • Do not share sharp objects or toothbrushes.
  • When performing first aid, always wear gloves.
  • Disinfect all blood spills and wear gloves when cleaning up any body fluids.
  • Seek regular prenatal care when you are pregnant.

To reduce the risk of getting a non-viral type of hepatitis, avoid taking excessive alcohol. Also, consult a physician before starting a new prescription and on taking supplements. Hepatitis is a disease that needs to be taken seriously as it can cause severe damage to your liver.

 

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Hepatitis Awareness Month

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Image is from American Liver Foundation

The Purpose of Hepatitis Awareness Month

The CDC strives to inform and educate individuals, communities, organizations, the medical community, and groups on Hepatitis.

  • What Hepatitis is
  • The symptoms
  • How it impacts lives
  • The treatments available
  • Testing available
  • Resources available

May is the time to heighten your awareness of Hepatitis to help yourself and those around you to become aware and educated about this insidious disease, many times a hidden and severe threat to your loved ones.

Hepatitis is a Dangerous Virus

You have no doubt heard about Hepatitis, or maybe not, but if you do you know what hepatitis is and how this can impact your life you will want to spread the word. Gain knowledge and information put out by the CDC during Hepatitis Awareness Month in May.

Many people have Hepatitis and are not even aware that they are infected. Hepatitis is a well-hidden illness of epidemic proportions. Millions of people suffer from Hepatitis in America every year.

In a nutshell, hepatitis is an inflammation process within your liver. This inflammation can remain as such or spin out of control causing fibrosis.

Fibrosis is a scarring of the liver tissues. This scarring hardens the liver tissue, which in the end resembles a stone. Hepatitis can cause you cirrhosis or cancer in the liver.

All forms of hepatitis cause liver damage in differing ways, some types of Hepatitis offer no indications the person even has a health problem. Other people suffer from minor symptoms of this disease. Other people have serious complications resulting in death.

Hepatitis, unfortunately, is very common and caused by substance abuse such as too much alcohol all the time, street drugs, and certain diseases related to immunity disorders.

Five Types of Hepatitis

There are five types of Hepatitis, A, B, C, D, and E. Type A caused by the ingestion of contaminants from food and water. Type B causes a chronic disease leading to cirrhosis and cancer, caused by contact with infected body fluids. Type C causes a chronic illness leading to cirrhosis and cancer, caused by contact with infected body fluids. Type D caused by contact with infected body fluids, and type E caused by the ingestion of contaminants from food and water

Universal Transmission

  • Blood transfusions and blood products
  • Contaminated invasive medical equipment
  • Infected pregnant women
  • Sexual contact
  • Sharing of needles among drug users
  • Accidental needle pricks among medical personnel
  • Poor sanitation conditions.
  • Symptoms

Symptoms may include a yellow tinge to the skin called jaundice, dark urine, severe fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

Work to Spread the Word

May is set aside as Hepatitis Awareness Month across the Untied States. The CDC set the 19th day of May as the day of hepatitis testing.

The CDC recognizes how hidden and elusive hepatitis and their focus is to shed light on this deadly epidemic, threatening the populace.

Become a Proactive Citizen for Hepatitis every year. May is the time of year to push the CDC’s agenda for Hepatitis Awareness and what this illness stands for throughout the United States.

Help to promote things that you, your friends, and your family can do to protect them from this hidden medical menace. You can help spread the word.

  • Take the Hepatitis Risk Assessment. This assessment only takes a mere 5 minutes of your time and is well worth taking.
  • Learn vaccination recommendations
  • Access educational videos
  • Wear buttons and badges and hang posters
  • Be prepared to answer questions and provide the basics of hepatitis.

Support the CDC and May Hepatitis Awareness Month the CDC in their endeavors to make every May a successful hepatitis awareness month.

 

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How can a mother prevent HCV transmission to child

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Becoming a new mother to a precious newborn baby brings a lot of worry all on its own. Worrying about the ways to prevent HCV transmission to the newborn might be also a concern of yours if you currently have the viral infection.

To help ease your mind the information below will help provide you with a bit of insight on how to prevent the transmission of the virus to your baby during birth, but to help ease your mind even more passing the virus onto your baby if you do have it is more difficult than you think.

In general, it’s a hard disease to pass on since you cannot catch it through coughing, sneezing, kissing, or breastfeeding. The only way the disease can be caught is coming into contact with the blood.

How can mothers prevent passing HCV to their newborn?

Mothers can prevent the passing of HCV to their newborns by doing things to help support their immune system. In mothers with an HCV overload, meaning when hepatitis C is roaring its ugly head at the highest peak causing countless symptoms and illness seems to be when mothers can pass the virus onto their babies during childbirth.

Therefore, keeping the immune system healthy and strong by eating a good balance diet of lots of fresh fruits and veggies, lean protein, probiotic rich foods, and taking their prenatal vitamins daily is essential for preventing the spread of the virus from mom to baby. Even getting plenty of sleep, lots of rest and plenty of water into the body is vital for keeping the immune system up so it can fight off the virus, protect your baby and prevent the spread of infection.

Can breastfeeding a newborn right after birth pass it onto the baby?

Right after giving birth moms infected with HCV are worried about passing the virus onto their babies through breastfeeding, but this cannot occur through breast milk unless there is blood on the nipples or the nipple is cracked and bleeding. If your nipples become sore and cracked during your first few days of breastfeeding, you may have to stop until they heal up again so you do not risk passing it onto your new little one. If your baby does catch the virus, their little bodies do wonders when it comes to naturally fighting it off because you have already passed the HCV antibodies off to them during the first few moments of breastfeeding.

What can doctors do to help moms prevent the spread of it during childbirth?

The best thing doctors can do to help moms prevent the spread of the virus during childbirth is ensure the babies comes into as little contact with the mother’s blood as possible. This can be difficult since tearing of the vaginal area can happen during childbirth, which causes bleeding. You can massage the area daily with a natural non irritating oil up until birth to help reduce the risk of tearing during childbirth. Some women have had great success with the method, which can reduce the risks of your baby coming into contact with tons of your blood during childbirth.

What are some end thoughts to keep in mind?

With all that mentioned, keep in mind if your baby does contract the virus the doctors are well educated on how to treat the virus successfully. Your baby might have to stay in the hospital longer along with you, but end results are promising and happy so let your mind be at ease. After all, you are about to receive the most precious gift of your life.

 

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