Can you get infected by kissing and other myths about hepatitis, knowledge of which will keep you healthy
July 28, in honor of the birthday of the Nobel laureate Baruch Blumberg, who discovered the hepatitis B virus, celebrates World Hepatitis Day. This disease is overwhelmed with rumors: someone says that only those who use alcohol or injecting drugs suffer from it, others are afraid that you can even become infected at a hairdresser or through a lipstick tester. What can be considered true from this and how to actually protect oneself from infection is in the material.What is hepatitis
Hepatitis in a broad sense – an inflammatory disease of the liver: the destruction of the main cells that make up this organ – hepatocytes. If the body does not have time to repair damaged cells, connective tissue takes its place (this condition is called fibrosis), and the liver stops performing its functions normally: process proteins, fats and glucose, synthesize bile and hormones, filter blood. If you start the disease, the proliferation of connective tissue can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer and complete organ failure.
The inflammation can begin if the liver is overloaded with toxic substances that it must remove from the body: for example, with alcohol or with some potent drugs. But the most common cause of the disease is the hepatitis virus. Its most common forms – A, B, C, D, and E – are transmitted in different ways: not only through blood and other biological fluids, but also, for example, through polluted water. The most dangerous are viruses that are spread parenterally (directly into the blood through damage to the skin or mucous membranes) – hepatitis B and C.
Viral hepatitis is not always “jaundice”: depending on the intensity and stage of the infection, the disease can occur without yellowing of the skin and eyes and manifest itself only as a feeling of fatigue, sleep disorder and loss of appetite (or not at all giving out symptoms). There are situations when a person learns about his disease by chance (for example, before a planned operation) and already at the stage of cirrhosis, when liver transplantation is required.
Hepatitis B and C
According to the latest World Health Organization (WHO) data, about 325 million people live in the world with chronic infection caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV) or C (HCV). The prevalence of infection is due to the fact that you can get infected with a virus even if you lead a healthy lifestyle – just from time to time resorting to cosmetic procedures or medical interventions in which contact with blood occurs.
The “routine” risks of contracting hepatitis are manicures, pedicures, cosmetic injections, tattooing or tattooing. Not all salons (and, especially, at home) are masters of sufficiently thorough processing of tools after manipulations. If they have even a small drop of the blood of a past client infected with the hepatitis B or C virus, the risk of being infected with a microtrauma is quite high. The same applies to any medical procedures and blood transfusions – it is no coincidence that hepatitis B is considered to be the occupational health risk that can be accidentally injured by the patient’s needle. In addition, both forms of the virus can be transmitted through unprotected sexual contact.
Chronic hepatitis B can cause cirrhosis and liver cancer for the first five years. It is impossible to cure the disease, but with the help of therapy it is possible to keep it under control in order to delay the development of complications. Hepatitis B vaccine exists – usually it is done at a very early age; adults are vaccinated if they travel to regions with a complex epidemiological situation or work in the medical field. Hepatitis C, unlike hepatitis B, is curable, but there is no vaccine for it. If the disease becomes chronic, then in 15–30 years it can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer.
How to protect against hepatitis
Do not use other personal hygiene items (toothbrushes, razors, nail scissors), even if you know their owner well.
Be attentive to the choice of a beauty salon or a master who performs procedures that violate the integrity of the skin (manicure, piercing, tattooing, etc.). Ask that all instruments be opened in front of you: they must be either disposable or sterilized and sealed in special paper bags. If the master simply wipes the tools with alcohol or antiseptic, the procedure should be abandoned.
If you are accustomed to the procedures at home, get your own tools and ask the master to perform all manipulations with them.
In a dental or medical clinic, make sure that the doctor uses disposable syringes and gloves, and processed instruments in sterile packaging.
The possibility of contracting hepatitis through a lipstick probe in the store is very small, but it still exists – especially in winter, when many people have cracks on their lips, including microdamages invisible to the eye.