World Hepatitis Day 2014: Key steps to prevent viral hepatitis

Prevention is the key player in reducing the incidence of hepatitis. Find out how you can keep yourself safe from the deadly infection

World Hepatitis Day: key steps to prevent hepatitisJuly 28 is World Hepatitis Day

Viral hepatitis (including hepatitis A, B, C, D and E) affects millions of people all over the world and accounts for more than 1.4 million deaths annually due to complications like liver disease. For this World Hepatitis Day, the World Health Organisation (WHO) calls for a change in outlook towards this deadly infectious disease and urges health workers and the general public to increase awareness and improve understanding about what causes it and what can be done to prevent it.

Keeping that in mind, Dr Amit Gharat, Gastroenterologist at Sterling Wockhardt Hospital, Vashi highlights a few steps that should be taken to prevent hepatitis.

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Steps to prevent hepatitis A:

  • Wash your hands with soap after going to the toilet
  • Eat hot, steaming foods
  • Drink boiled water or commercially bottled water if you're unsure of local sanitation
  • Eat fruits that are to be consumed by removing the peel if you are in an areas where sanitation is unreliable
  • Eat raw vegetables only when you are sure that they have been cleaned/disinfected thoroughly
  • Get yourself vaccinated with hepatitis A if you're traveling to places where it is endemic

Steps to prevent hepatitis B:

  • Practice safe sex
  • Inform your partner if you are a carrier or try to find out whether he/she is a carrier
  • Use only clean syringes and ensure they are not reused later
  • Do not share toothbrushes, razors or manicure instruments with anyone
  • Get series of hepatitis B shots if you are at high risk
  • Ensure all equipment is well sterilised while getting a tattoo or before getting any skin piercing activity done

Steps to prevent hepatitis C:

  • Do not share toothbrushes, razors or manicure instruments
  • Cover your open wounds if you are infected
  • Limit the intake of alcohol. Drink moderately
  • Do not share drug equipment (needles) with anyone

Steps to prevent hepatitis D:

  • Hepatitis D infection occurs in those infected with hepatitis B. Therefore, preventive measures for it will be the same as those for hepatitis B

Steps to prevent hepatitis E:

  • Since hepatitis E is transmitted in the same way as hepatitis A, preventive measures will be the same as those for hepatitis A

Image source: Getty images

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