Recent studies suggest an estimated 1.45 million deaths worldwide due to Viral Hepatitis. Also, highest number of leave of absence amongst working professionals due to sickness is also attributed to Hepatitis.
What is Hepatitis?
Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver caused due to several factors both intrinsic and extrinsic.
What causes Hepatitis?
- Viruses – Most common cause of Hepatitis
- Auto Immune Conditions
Viral hepatitis is the most common cause worldwide and more so in India. 5 viruses are the main causative agents, namely –
- HEPATITIS A VIRUS
- HEPATITIS B VIRUS
- HEPATITIS C VIRUS
- HEPATITIS D VIRUS
- HEPATITIS E VIRUS
How does Hepatitis spread – Mode of Spread?
Mode of spread differs for each type of virus. Hepatitis B is a Sexually Transmitted Disease, spreads through contact with infected body fluids such as blood, saliva or semen. Hepatitis A and C spreads by consumption of food or water infected by virus.
Symptoms of Hepatitis
Though the causative factors are different, presenting symptoms of Hepatitis remains the same, namely:
- Stomach ache
- Loose stools
It is recommended to consult a doctor immediately, when you have any of the above-mentioned symptoms.
PREVENTION – Can hepatitis be prevented?
Yes, Vaccines are available to limit the burden of the disease.
- HEPATITIS B VACCINE
Hepatitis B vaccine has been included in the National Immunisation Schedule, so that no new born misses it. Apart from kids, adults too should get vaccinated – as the old adage goes “Prevention is better than Cure”
Doses – 3 doses of vaccine, first dose when you meet the Doctor. The remaining two, administered 1 and 6 months apart from first.
- HEPATITIS A VACCINE
It is not routinely followed; however, 2 doses of vaccine are recommended in children. Otherwise, advised in people who are more prone to contact diseases
Apart from vaccines, certain tips when followed help in preventing the disease. Preventive tips include-
- Hand Washing – Make sure you wash your hands with soap and water every time before and after using wash rooms and before eating food
- Avoid drinking tap water – While travelling try to carry your own water bottle or use sealed water bottles
- Use condoms
- Avoid getting tattoos or body piercings at unlicensed facilities
Hepatitis is a Health Threat. Proper measures will help in protecting you and your family. Proper information and knowledge helps in protecting the community.
Be more than well.