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How do I Avoid Hepatitis C Exposure?

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  • Written By: Caitlin Shih
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 22 August 2016
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The hepatitis C virus (HCV) is spread primarily through blood contact, meaning that hepatitis C exposure can be a part of any activity or interaction in which there is a risk of coming in contact with another person's blood. Abstaining from drug injection is a common method of avoiding hepatitis C exposure, as infected needles or syringes used by those who are injecting drugs tend to be the biggest modes of transmission. Obtaining medical treatment as well as tattoos or body piercings at legitimate and reliable facilities also lowers the risk of exposure. Responsible behavior concerning personal items and certain sexual practices is also recommended. Those who carry a higher occupational risk of hepatitis C exposure should embrace the precautionary techniques appropriate for their line of work.

Conscientious behavior concerning drug use is a key element in avoiding hepatitis C exposure. Those who use or have used drug injections tend to be at greatest risk of infection because of their increased exposure to potentially unclean needles or other drug-related equipment. Clean syringes and safe injecting techniques can aid in reducing the likelihood of harm, although education and abstinence are generally the surest methods of avoiding exposure.

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The usage of legitimate medical, dental, tattoo and body piercing facilities is normally enough to successfully avoid hepatitis C exposure. While there is a great risk of infection associated with improperly cleaned needles, syringes or other medical tools, the proper disposal and thorough, meticulous sterilization of all medical equipment is normally enough to cut the risk to zero. Frequenting credible facilities that properly adhere to standard medical precautions is essential to avoiding any risk of infection.

Share personal items such as toothbrushes, razors and other hygiene equipment with caution, as this can easily lead to hepatitis C exposure. These items can quickly become contaminated with blood and may not always be properly sterilized or disposed of. The risk increases during circumstances in which a person has open wounds or sores that may come in direct contact with his personal care items, especially including bleeding during brushing, flossing or shaving. While hepatitis C is not generally transmitted through normal casual contact, such as hugging, kissing, or sharing food, take proper precautions during any situation that requires living closely with someone who may have the virus.

Mature habits concerning sexual behavior and the avoidance of certain sexual activities will usually be enough to avoid hepatitis C. Sexual transmission of the virus in general tends to be rare because transmission is primarily through blood and not simply any bodily fluid. While the risk of contracting the disease through heterosexual vaginal intercourse is low, other sexual situations carry a higher chance of exposure. These include situations that incorporate higher levels of impact or penetration in addition to behaviors in which any of the people involved already have wounds or warts due to a previous disease. Responsible decisions are almost always necessary in these cases, but abstaining from these activities is the only sure way to avoid any risk of exposure.

Those who have an occupational risk of hepatitis C exposure will often need to pay greater attention to protecting themselves and properly sterilizing their environment during their work. Medical or military personnel, those who play contact sports, and first responders such as paramedics may be at a greater risk because of their increased exposure to open wounds and close contact with others. Precautionary strategies and scrupulous attention to sanitation are often enough to significantly reduce chances of becoming infected.

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