How to Prevent Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is also considered as a serious disease that affects millions of people worldwide. It has been estimated that about 170 million people all over the world have been chronically infected with the Hepatitis C virus with an additional three to four million people infected each year.

There is no vaccine currently available to combat the spread of the disease and the treatment for chronic Hepatitis C that may be available may prove to be too costly especially in less developed countries where the disease is found to be more prevalent.

Hepatitis C is a major cause acute hepatitis and chronic liver disease that may lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer. The Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is generally spread through direct contact with human blood.

Causes of hepatitis C

Sharing needles is one way that a person may get Hepatitis C. working in a profession that exposes one to human blood in the workplace may also be a means of disease transmission.

Blood transfusions may also be a transmission risk of the disease although stricter blood screening has been instituted in order to prevent the spread of the Hepatitis C virus. But the degree of risk that blood transfusion may pose would depend from country to country.

Diagnosis of hepatitis C

Diagnosing a Hepatitis C infection may prove to be difficult since infected people usually experience no symptoms during the acute phase of the disease. Those who do experience some symptoms during the acute phase may not feel too ill to even seek medical attention.

Even the diagnosis of the disease may also prove to be very difficult due to the absence of specific symptoms that will be telling of the said disease. The only specific symptom that can directly tell of Hepatitis C is the development of advanced liver disease, which usually occurs several years later after the initial infection.

The best way to find out if one has the disease is through a blood screening for Hepatitis C. Although it may help detect if the person has been infected by the virus, it may not be able to determine a recent infection from an old one.

How to treat hepatitis C?

Treating the disease may include the use of antiviral drugs such as interferon which can be taken alone or with another drug called ribavirin. Treatment with interferon proves effective with ten to twenty percent of infected patients.

A treatment consisting of a combination of interferon and ribavirin has proven to be effective for 30 to 50 percent of infected patients. Ribavirin alone has not proven to be effective in treating the said disease.

How to prevent hepatitis C?

The best way to combat the Hepatitis C virus as of now is by using effective prevention methods. Since there is no vaccine yet available with the high mutability of the HCV making vaccine development more of a challenge, prevention currently seems to be the best cure.

Proper and strict screening and testing of blood and organ donors may help prevent the spread of the virus. Infection control practices in hospitals and other medical institutions and establishments may also help prevent the transmission of the disease.

For the general public, avoiding drug use may help one feel safe about contracting the disease up to a certain level. Sharing needles should also be avoided, be it when used on injections or through tattooing.

Avoiding sexual contact with multiple partners or practicing protected sex may also help in preventing the spread or transmission of Hepatitis C.