Hepatitis C is a viral infection that affects the bodies largest organ, the Liver. Hepatitis C is transmitted via the blood and causes liver inflammation and in severe cases, Cirrhosis or cancer.
There are many sources where you can become infected with the Hepatitis C virus but if you take time to understand the risks you can take precautions to protect yourself.
7 ways Hepatitis C is transmitted
Tattoos and piercing
If proper sterilization is not carried out, blood from an infected person may pass to another. Non-professional tattoos and piercing carry the greatest risk as sterilization is not normally carried out successfully due to lack of knowledge.
Although they only carry a small risk, it is a risk non-the less. Personal items such as razors and toothbrushes, if shared, can easily transmit contaminated blood; try not to share personal items.
Hepatitis C is not sexually transmitted but if two partners are having unprotected sex there is the possibility of blood contact. This contact can be made from small tears that may occur during vigorous sexual activity.
Recreational drug use
One of the most common forms of transmission is sharing needles and other drug paraphernalia through recreational drug use.
Blood transfusions and surgery
Although a lot of European countries and places like America now screen for Hepatitis C, a lot of developing countries do not adequately screen blood and organs for Hepatitis, which can lead to infection.
This is another source that carries a small risk. If you play contact sports like rugby or football then you may accidentally come into contact with the blood of someone who is infected, should this occur you will not become infected unless the blood manages to come into contact with your own.
Exposure through work
Those who work in careers that put them in contact with blood and needles can seriously put them at risk of exposure to Hepatitis C. The careers that offer the highest risks are those who work in the medical or dental fields, emergency services and those who are in military combat.
Important information about Hepatitis C
Some of the reasons above may seem trivial to you, but to those who have become infected with Hepatitis C it is a life changing even, although people will not notice on the outside that you may be infected.
With nearly 300 million people infected worldwide since it was found less than 20 years ago, Hepatitis C is classed as a growing epidemic. The issue with Hepatitis C is that symptoms dont show in most sufferers and it can take years or even decades for those with Hepatitis C to discover they are infected.
There is no current cure for Hepatitis C; at present there is medication, which can alleviate the affects in the short term. The medication consists of 2 drug treatments, which are taken together in a course that lasts from 6 to 12 months; unfortunately the medication can also give strong side affects that patients can find intolerable.