As the world marks World Hepatitis Day, a disease described as inflammation of the liver, scientists recommend precautious measures to prevent further damage to the liver.
Vaccination against Hepatitis is the only way to ensuring that you protect yourself from some variants of Hepatitis. Dr Graciela Diap, HCV Access Project Leader says safe and effective vaccines are available to prevent Hepatitis A and B. Hepatitis B vaccines also provide protection from Hepatitis D infections, and although effective vaccines to prevent Hepatitis E have been developed they are not widely available. This type of vaccine is recommended for people of all ages including infants, children and adolescents aged below 19 years. Adults above 60 years with no any pre-existing conditions can undertake the jab.
Practise safe sex
Type A and B of this disease are linked to human sexual activities, either penetrative or orally. Studies shows that Hepatitis B is spread through semen, vaginal fluid, blood and urine and the only way to protect oneself from this virus is through the use of condoms. Also, scientists recommends avoding oral sexual activities. Frequent hepatitis testing is also one way of keeping safe.
Avoid sharing needles
One of the ways one can be infected is by coming into contact with surfaces, equipment and even objects that have been contaminated with infectious blood. Needles and syringes are also a transmitter. According to Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, people who get infected by Hepatitis C can develop a chronic or lifelong infection leading to serious liver damage, liver failure and even liver cancer. However, they say that avoiding sharing needles can be one of the prevention of Hepatitis C.
Proper good hygiene
The Hepatitis A virus is transmitted primarily by the faecal-oral route; when an uninfected person ingests food or water that has been contaminated .This might happen when an infected person prepares food without washing their hands, thereby contaminating the food. The World Health Organistion says one of the ways to combat Hepatitis A is through improved sanitation and food safety. This can be done with adequate supply of clean and safe drinking water, proper disposal of sewage within communities, personal hygiene practices such as regular handwashing before meals and after going to the bathrooms and general
Limit alcohol consumption
Alcoholic hepatitis is another type of the disease that is majorly caused by drinking alcohol. This is most common among heavy alcohol drinkers whose consumption has been high for years. However, the relationship between drinking and alcoholic hepatitis is complex. Not all heavy drinkers develop alcoholic hepatitis but the same can happen to people who drink moderately. Scientists are yet to determine the quantity of alcohol that puts one at a risk of alcohol hepatitis. Most people with the condition have a history of drinking more than seven glasses of wine, beers or seven shots of spirits — daily for at least 20 years, according to a study conducted by Mayo clinic. Therefore, drinking in moderation is the only way towards treating alcoholic hepatitis.
Maintain a healthy weight
People with hepatitis need to follow a healthy lifestyle to minimize damage to your body organs especially the liver. Start protecting yourself by paying more attention to your diet and nutrition especially on what you consume on the daily basis. Make sure your plate is well balanced. Experts recommends the diet to include plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains such as oats, brown rice, barley, lean protein such as fish, skinless chicken and healthy fats like those in nuts, and olive oil. This is because obesity and fatty liver disease can exacerbate liver damage. Maintainining a healthy weight through regular exercise and balanced diet would be the only way to prevent further damage to your liver.
Avoid non-prescribed drugs
While the use of medication especially during pain management might be necessary, experts says that some medications, including certain painkillers and herbal supplements, can be harmful to the liver,thereby increasing the risks of hepatitis infections. Majority of the over-the-counter cold and headache medicines , under different names may contain acetaminophen, a drug component that is cited to raise the risks of liver infections. No herbal treatment has been proven to improve outcomes in people with hepatitis B while some can cause serious liver toxicity. Herbal treatments are not recommended for anyone with Hepatitis B.
Regular liver health monitoring
For individuals previously diagnosed with liver diseases like hepatitis, regular monitoring helps track the progression of the disease. This allows healthcare providers to adjust treatment plans and medications accordingly, minimising further liver damage. Regular monitoring involves routine blood tests, such as liver function tests, which can detect abnormalities in liver enzymes and other markers. These tests can identify liver diseases at an early stage, allowing for timely intervention and treatment. If you have hepatitis, it’s important to have regular check-ups with your healthcare provider to monitor your liver function and discuss any necessary treatment options.
Cut or stop smoking cigarettes
Research has found a strong associations between chronic hepatitis B and C with cigarrete smoking. This then inceases risks of more serious diseases such as liver cancer especially for people who have other risk factors. Smoking can also enhance the toxic effects that some medications (such as paracetamol) have on the liver. Also, smokers are at risk of sharing cigars among themselves, rising the risks of trasnmitting hepatitis among themselves.
Take supplements for Hepatitis
Under the doctor’s guidance, patients are advised to partake multivitamins which help in securing the liver by increasing its immunity. If you are being treated for Hepatitis B Vaccination, you may want to discuss the potential benefits of adding vitamin D to your current therapy. It has also been shown to benefit hepatitis C patients undergoing treatment.