7 Ways to Prevent the Spread of Viral Hepatitis

With 4,000 people dying from hepatitis every day, according to the World Hepatitis Alliance, it’s more important than ever to spread awareness of the disease.

Hepatitis can be caused by a viral infection of the liver. There are five different types of viruses: A, B, C, D or E. The different forms come with various methods of prevention, transmission and treatment.

Thankfully, there are new treatment options for a type of viral hepatitis that is offering some a chance for a cure. However, the best option is prevention.

Here are some ways you can reduce your risk of acquiring viral hepatitis:

1. Keep your personal care items personal.

Some personal items—like razors, nail clippers and toothbrushes—could harbor trace amounts of blood, which, if infected, could spread hepatitis B, C or D. If you go to a salon for a manicure or pedicure, be aware of their cleanliness standards, too. Clippers and razors should be sterilized between customers.


2. Wash your produce well.

Some hepatitis A infections have been traced back to eating contaminated fresh fruits, vegetables and salads. To decrease your risk while still enjoying these healthy foods, rinse all fresh fruits and vegetables—even if you’re planning on throwing away the peel.


3. Skip raw shellfish.

Uncooked shellfish—like mussels or clams—could come from polluted waters that could transmit hepatitis A or E. To reduce your risk, opt for cooked dishes of your favorite shellfish.


4. Research before you get a tattoo or piercing.

If you’re interested in getting a tattoo or piercing, check out the salon’s cleanliness first. Are tools sterilized between uses? Is the staff licensed and trained in controlling infections? Do they routinely wash their hands and wear gloves before touching a customer? Knowing these answers could lessen your risk of hepatitis B, C or D.


5. Drink bottled water when traveling.

If you’re traveling to a developing country, avoid tap and well water, which could be contaminated with hepatitis A or E. Instead, choose bottled water and skip ice, unless it’s made with bottled water.


6. Know your partner.

Sex is a leading cause of the spread of hepatitis B. Knowing your partner’s history, being vaccinated and using preventative measures, such as condoms, are some ways to avoid becoming infected.


7. Wash your hands.

Good hygiene goes a long way in preventing the spread of hepatitis A, which can live outside the body for months. Be sure to wash your hands after using the bathroom and before preparing or eating food.


To learn more about how you can take action to help reduce the spread of hepatitis, check out this infographic from the World Hepatitis Alliance.

The information herein may not be construed as medical advice. The medical information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. It should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. It is best to obtain medical recommendations from your physician.