Essentials for Healthy Living: How to NOT Get Hepatitis C
Pakistan has the second highest cases of hepatitis C. Almost 4.8% of the population suffers from this easily preventable disease. And the worst part is; even with all the efforts being made to decrease hepatitis C by WHO, NGO’s and the government,it is still on the rise. Hepatitis C; just like your common cold, is a viral disease but yes, a lot more lethal. This virus however, does not spread like flu, it spreads by blood to blood contact.
The commonest method of Hepatitis C spread is needle sharing. Sharing blades and razors can also put an individual at risk of contacting Hepatitis C. Similarly, girls must avoid sharing tweezers and epilators.
Another huge source of spreading Hepatitis C is through blood transfusion. If you or one of your dear ones is getting a blood transfusion; the usual series of events that follows is that you go to a hospital/clinic/laboratory. They ask you to arrange for blood. Now, never under any circumstances, go for a professional blood donor: the one who takes money for donating blood.
Once you find a person with the same blood group. Next, you proceed to getting the blood tested. If you are at a good place they will give you an official looking document with fancy medical abbreviations telling you that the blood is matched and HCV is negative, which means the blood is safe for transfusion. No matter what the situation is make sure you get that official looking document and that the blood is tested before transfusion.
If you ever suffer from a tooth trouble please don’t go to a random dentist clinic. You might save 4-5000Rs from tooth extraction but it can be dangerous in the long run. Same goes for having any sort of surgery or in the case of nail extraction (ill shaped penetrating nails); tattooing, ear studs and getting a piercing; don’t go to unskilled people . Go to a shop which is well kept and make sure that the person-in-charge changes the needle in front of you.
Also try taking an antiseptic swab pack with you, be as cautious as possible because hepatitis C is a lethal disease. I am not trying to scare you all, but I am just trying to assert the gravity of the situation. If you are into drugs or on IV drugs (pharmaceutical) make sure you use disposable syringes. If you are like a heavy sort of IV (putting drugs through needles) drug abuser, I am sure you aren’t reading my article, but just in case you know someone who is; needle sharing is a definite no.
Another thing to keep in mind is that if you have a hepatitis C patient in the house, you have to be extra cautious. Sharing of nail cutters, hair brush, razors or other sharp things should be strictly avoided. In short, anything that penetrates or scrapes the patient’s skin should not be used by others. Anything that has the patient’s blood on it should be thrown away carefully.
Hepatitis C has also shown increased cases among the patient’s partner. Avoidance of unprotected sex and having a single partner are also steps towards caution and prevention.
Another tip for being “Blood Aware” is donating blood every now and then(at a well reputed place). It is not for the sake of prevention, but for the sake of detection. This gives you a chance to get your blood tested free of cost against Hep C (Hep B and AIDS as well). And if unfortunately, you do have the disease; it is detected at the earliest phase and can be cured easily.
Remember, nothing comes before your own good health. Stay healthy and self aware.
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