• Reducing Your Risk of Viral Hepatitis

    Hepatitis is a contagious disease that is preventable. Basic preventive principles include avoiding contact with other people’s blood or bodily fluids and practicing good sanitation. In addition, vaccines are available to prevent some types of hepatitis. They are given to people at high risk of contracting the disease.

    Avoid Contact With Blood and Bodily Fluids

    Infected blood and bodily fluids can spread hepatitis. To avoid contact:
    • Do not inject illicit drugs , especially with shared needles. Seek help to stop using drugs.
    • Do not have sex with partners who have hepatitis or other sexually transmitted diseases .
    • Practice safe sex using latex condoms or abstain from sex.
    • Limit your number of sexual partners. A mutually monogamous relationship is best.
    • Avoid sharing personal hygiene products (eg, toothbrushes, razors).
    • Avoid handling items that may be contaminated with hepatitis-infected blood.
    • Donate your own blood before elective surgery so it can be used if you need a blood transfusion .
    • Avoid getting a tattoo or a body piercing. If you get a tattoo or body piercing, make sure the artist or piercer properly sterilizes the equipment. You might get infected if the tools have someone else's blood on them.
    • If you are a healthcare professional, always follow routine barrier precautions and safely handle needles and other sharp instruments and dispose of them properly.
    • Wear gloves when touching or cleaning up bodily fluids on personal items, such as:
      • Bandages
      • Band-aids
      • Tampons, sanitary pads, diapers
      • Linens
    • Cover open cuts or wounds.
    • Use only sterile needles for drug injections, blood draws, ear piercing, and tattooing.
    • If you are pregnant, have a blood test for hepatitis B . Infants born to mothers with hepatitis B should be treated within 12 hours after birth.
    • When travelling to countries where the risk of hepatitis is higher, follow proper precautions, such as:
      • Only drinking bottled water
      • Not using ice cubes
      • Avoiding certain foods, like shellfish, unpasteurized milk products, and fresh fruits and vegetables

    Practice Good Sanitation

    Good sanitation can prevent the transmission of some forms of hepatitis.
    • Wash your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom or changing a diaper.
    • Wash your hands with soap and water before eating or preparing food.
    • Carefully clean all household utensils after use.

    Get a Vaccine, If Recommended

    Ask your doctor if you need a hepatitis vaccine. Vaccines are available for hepatitis A and B .

    Get Immune Globulin (IG) Injection, If Recommended

    IG, available for hepatitis A and B, is an injection that contains antibodies, which help provide protection. This shot is usually given:
    • Before exposure to the virus, or
    • As soon as possible after exposure to the virus

    References

    Kohnle D. Hepatitis A vaccine. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/ . Updated January 2009. Accessed May 12, 2009.

    McCoy K. Hepatitis B vaccine. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/ . Updated January 2009. Accessed May 12, 2009.

    Preventing hepatitis. Hepatitis Foundation International website. Available at: http://www.hepfi.org/living/liv%5Fpreventing.html . Accessed January 19, 2011.

    Stahl R. Hepatitis prevention for travelers. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/ . Updated February 2009. Accessed May 12, 2009.

    Viral hepatitis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. Available at: http://www.cdcnpin.org/scripts/hepatitis/index.asp . Updated October 15, 2010. Accessed January 19, 2011.

    What I need to know about Hepatitis B. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse website. Available at: http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/hepb%5Fez/index.htm . Published April 2009. Accessed January 19, 2011.

    9/25/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php : Updated recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) for use of hepatitis A vaccine in close contacts of newly arriving international adoptees. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2009;58:1006.

    Revision Information

  • Join WellZones today.

    Make a Change For LifeLearn more

    Wellmont LiveWell is creating a new tradition of wellness in the mountains by providing individuals with tools and encouragement to live healthier lifestyles.

  • HeartSHAPE Spotlight

    HeartSHAPE® Test Learn more

    Fight heart disease early and prevent heart attacks with HeartSHAPE® - a painless, non-invasive test that takes pictures of your heart to scan for early-stage coronary disease.

  • Calories and Energy Needs

    Calorie NeedsLearn more

    How many calories do you need to eat each day to maintain your weight and fuel your physical activity? Enter a few of your stats into this calculator to find out.

  • Ideal Body Weight

    Ideal Body WeightLearn more

    Using body mass index as a reference, this calculator determines your ideal body weight range. All you need to do is enter your height.

  • Body Mass Index

    Body Mass IndexLearn more

    This tool considers your height and weight to assess your weight status.


  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.