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5 common myths about hepatitis busted!

I bet you still believe some of these common myths about hepatitis!

July 28th is observed as World Hepatitis Day every year. The theme for 2017 is Eliminate Hepatitis.

Hepatitis is one of the leading cause of liver disease. But this World Hepatitis Day let's spread awareness about the disease. Most of us know about the types of hepatitis and ways to prevent it, however, there are a few myths that people believe till date. One of the common one being that hepatitis causes jaundice, which is not true as jaundice is just a symptom of hepatitis and not a cause of it. So we have Dr Mehul Choksi, Consultant Gastroenterologist, SL Raheja Hospital, Mumbai to dispel the common myths about hepatitis.

Myth 1: Jaundice is caused only by water borne infections.

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Fact: Jaundice and chronic hepatitis are caused by blood borne viruses. These viruses can cause end stage liver disease (cirrhosis). Hepatitis B is a preventable infection. There is a vaccine for hepatitis B which is given at birth. Adults who have not taken the vaccine can take it after getting tested for hepatitis B.

Myth 2: Only bland food should be eaten while recovering from jaundice.

Fact: At the time of suffering from jaundice the body needs a good amount of calories from proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Limiting oneself to only bland and boiled food can easily lead to protein calorie malnutrition during the prolonged illness. Therefore, eating and maintaining a healthy diet once the appetite is back, with normal amounts of oil/fat will help to recover from the illness faster.

Myth 3: Ayurvedic and herbal medicines are the only effective treatment.

Fact: The biggest myth is that there is no treatment for this disease, that only Ayurvedic and herbal medicines can work and cure people. Most people seek treatment after visiting remedial doctors and quacks who suggest various concoctions. The fact is that hepatitis is treated if people approach the right clinicians and get themselves treated when symptoms arise, says Dr Rakesh Patel, Gastroenterologist, Fortis Hospital, Kalyan. Here's everything you need to know about Ayurveda for jaundice.

Myth 4: Branding of skin will help treat jaundice.

Fact: Strong cultural beliefs, especially in rural areas, have adopted the practice of branding (alternate treatment of Jaundice in which a third-degree burn is inflicted on the skin with a hot iron or metal rod or metallic object). The fact is that jaundice is caused by viral hepatitis A, B and E viruses and most of them will resolve on their own, with time. Branding can lead to ugly scar formation and cellulites of the affected area and in no way is it a treatment for Jaundice.

Myth 5: Eating yellow-coloured foods cause jaundice.

Fact: Most people believe that eating yellow coloured foods like dal, turmeric and lemon can up your risk of jaundice. However, this is not true. In fact, foods like turmeric are good for the liver as it is loaded with anti-inflammatory properties and also help in detoxifying the liver. The antioxidants in lemon juice help in flushing the free radicals from the liver and help the organ to recover following the infection. Also read the query: I am suffering from hepatitis, can I eat yellow coloured foods?

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