Hepatitis B and C are difficult to get diagnosed and they are often referred as silent diseases. Initially, for the first six months there may be no symptoms. Acute viral hepatitis results in fatigue, fever, nausea and vomiting but these are common symptoms so additional tests are needed. Hepatitis C is diagnosed in chronic stages when it starts affecting liver. A typical cycle of disease from infection to liver damage may take very long.
Hepatitis B makes people sick especially children and symptoms may include tiredness, loss of appetite, stomach ache, nausea, vomiting, jaundice or joint pain. More serious complications may include cirrhosis or liver cancer.
Hepatitis B and C can prove to be more dangerous than HIV because of the absence of vaccine for hepatitis C, low level of awareness, difficulty in predictability of response to therapy. Improving the identification and public health management like screening of persons with hepatitis B and C infection can help prevent chronic liver disease.
Screening is recommended for people who are born in eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, Middle East and Pacific Islands, homosexual men, donors of blood and plasma, pregnant women, infants born to HBsAg positive mothers, persons on immune suppression therapy etc.
A person suffering from Hepatitis B or C should do:
- Check Hepatitis B or C status.
- Promote vaccinations.
- Be careful so that no one is accidentally exposed to blood.
- Discard materials used during injury.
- Wash hands.
- Avoid unprotected sex.
- Hepatitis status of spouse or sexual partner should be checked.
- Individuals who are at higher risk should be vaccinated.
- Monitor your liver functioning regularly.
A person suffering from Hepatitis B or C should not do:
- Don not share chewing gums, toothbrush, razor, needle or anything that comes in contact with blood.
- Do not share syringe.
- Do not donate blood, plasma, tissues, sperm.
- Do not panic and fear the worst.
- Do nor chew food before giving it to babies.
- Do not neglect follow up.
- do not try unproven therapies.