Today is World Hepatitis day. Here are five things you should know about the disease

Every year, July 28th is set aside for the global awareness of Hepatitis, and liver disease – its root cause and what preventable measures can be taken.

Here are five things to know about the disease.

  1. The word ‘hepatitis’ means inflammation of the liver. Those with chronic Hepatitis, or long-term Hepatitis, are more susceptible to liver cancer. Hepatitis can lead to liver cirrhosis, which is the forming of scar tissue in the liver. Toxins, certain drugs, heavy alcohol use, bacterial and viral infections can all cause hepatitis.
  2. There are five types of Hepatitis: Hepatitis A, B, C, D and E. Though symptoms are similar across all types of Hepatitis, they come in varying degrees of severity and each is transmitted differently, and caused by different strains of the virus. Out of the five, Hepatitis C is the most common, though in South East Asia, Hepatitis B is most prevalent.
  3. Hepatitis A is spread through food or water that’s been contaminated by fecal matter. Treatment for hepatitis A, but routine childhood vaccination and vaccination of at risk adults are the most effective ways to reduce the disease. Hepatitis B is transmitted between people through contact with the blood or other body fluids (i.e. saliva, semen and vaginal fluid) of an infected person. All newborns and children should be vaccinated against hepatitis B, as well as people who are at risk. Hepatitis C is spread through direct blood to blood contact. As there’s no vaccine for hepatitis C, prevention and treatment are of the utmost importance.  Hepatitis B is the one that’s most easily spread through sexual activity — through semen, vaginal fluid, blood, and urine. Always endeavour to stay protected.
  4. Both babies and adults can be vaccinated against Hepatitis. Although vaccines are only available for types A and B of Hepatitis, some protection is better than none. infants should get their first dose of the Hepatitis B vaccine at birth, and start getting the Hepatitis A vaccine right after they turn a year old.
    Adult too can still get their own dose of the vaccine.
  5. Hepatitis cannot be spread through casual contact like hand shake and cannot also be transmitted through breast milk.

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