Is Hepatitis C contagious enough to be alarmed? Hepatitis c is commonly believed to be a highly contagious disease all over the globe. It is said that mere contact with a person living with hepatitis c can transmit the infection quickly. People who do not have enough information may end up being afraid of the disease’s true potential of spreading. Some of these individuals may have the idea that they can acquire hepatitis c in dental clinics and hospitals. Honestly, they’re partly correct. Hospitals and dental clinics typically use medical instruments intravenously.
Although it rarely happens, it is possible that you can catch the disease if the health institute’s safety protocols are incorrectly followed. The sharing of needles without adequate sterilisation and disinfection can spread the disease at a high probability. However, by visiting a trusted dental clinic or other health centres that practice safety protocols religiously, you can be sure that you are safe from catching hepatitis c or other diseases.
What is Hepatitis C?
To efficiently reduce the risks of acquiring the disease by accident or any other possible chances, we must have a full understanding of what it is. In this way, we will have an idea about the things to avoid and help the community to suppress the actual spread of the disease. Hepatitis c by definition is an infection of the liver that is caused by the hepatitis c virus. The severity of the illness can range from “mild” that typically lasts for a few weeks, or “severe” that may last for years. The two most common types of hepatitis c are:
- Acute Hepatitis C: The symptoms of this type of hepatitis c usually appears within the first six months after the person’s initial exposure to the virus. It may last for a few weeks, and it may go away on its own. However, some cases may lead to chronic infection. The common symptoms are yellow eyes or skin, upset stomach, nausea, fever, fatigue, light stool colour, loss of appetite, joint pain, or dark urine.
- Chronic Hepatitis C: This type of hepatitis c is more severe and may last a lifetime if left unchecked. The adverse health effects of this type may damage your liver permanently. You may be at risk of developing cirrhosis or liver cancer. The worst-case scenario can lead to death. There are no standard or apparent symptoms for this type of hepatitis. You will only know if you’re infected through blood examination.
Hepatitis C Transmission
The actual transmission of hepatitis c occurs when infected blood from a hepatitis c patient enters the bloodstream of a person who doesn’t have the disease. Here are the possible reasons why it becomes contagious:
- Needle Sharing: One of the most common reasons for spreading the disease is needle sharing, especially in health institutes with inadequate safety protocols. Infected blood is highly contagious.
- Unlicensed Tattoo or Piercing Facilities: These facilities often have informal settings, non-disinfected or non-sterile equipment.
- Blood and Organ Donations: Before 1992, there was no thorough screening process for blood transfusion and organ transplant. The result is an increased risk of hepatitis c transmission because of infected blood. However, a complete screening process is done nowadays to maximise the safety of the recipients.
- Intercourse with an Infected Person: Although the transmission is rare in this scenario, the study says that there is a high risk of contagion with men having intercourse with men.
- Sharing of Personal Hygiene or Grooming Tools: The sharing of razors, nail-cutters, toothbrushes, or anything that may enter the bloodstream even in small amounts can be potentially dangerous.
These reasons have made medical and dental clinics worldwide to make sure their equipment and tools are sterilised and safe for patients for any surgical procedure.
Now that you know the facts about the possible transmission of the hepatitis c let’s talk about the common misconceptions of it spreads. You will not acquire or transmit hepatitis c by:
- A kiss
- A hug
- By holding hands
- Casual physical contact
- Through sneezing
- Through coughing
- Sharing utensils for eating
- Sharing food and beverage
Hepatitis C Treatment
Hepatitis c does not have a vaccine, unlike the other types. The best treatment is to stay as healthy as possible by exercising and avoiding food that is bad for your liver. Regular checkups are also recommended to monitor the severity of the condition. Your doctor will know the best approach to clear your liver of the disease. With the right exercises and eating habits, you can help reduce the actual progress of the hepatitis is in case you are infected. Your doctor may also advise you to get vaccinated for hepatitis a and b or undergo HIV screening.
These steps will help your doctor to provide the necessary steps to prevent possible complications.
We hope that we’ve enlightened you with ample information about the hepatitis c disease. At least now you are aware of the facts about the real causes of its transmission and the common misconceptions. The major takeaway is still putting a value on regular visits to the doctor. Since there are no vaccines for the hepatitis c yet, it is always best to consult your doctor for checkups. Early detection can help with the efficiency of the treatment, and most importantly, reduce the risks of transmission. Another factor to consider is choosing the right medical facility or dental clinic where they practice a complete safety protocol. Having a trusted dental clinic or hospital to visit gives you peace of mind.
So, if you want to be sure about your safety, consult your trusted health provider today.