By Ken Buben, President, FancyScrubs.com
World Hepatitis Day
Today is the first World Hepatitis Day marked by the United Nations bringing much needed attention to the disease that affects almost 1 in 3 on earth. Viral hepatitis is one of the most prevalent and serious infectious diseases in the world.
The theme of the campaign is Know it, Confront it. Hepatitis affects everyone and the campaign was designed to highlight the fact that more than two billion people have been infected by the virus, and each year nearly one million deaths are attributed to viral hepatitis infections. Millions who have the disease don’t know it and could be unknowingly spreading this infection.
There are five strains of hepatitis though hepatitis B accounts for the majority of the world’s cases. It’s transmitted through contact with infected blood or other body fluids and yet it is 50 to 100 times more infectious, making it easier to catch.
About 90 percent of adults who catch hepatitis B recover and are rid of the disease completely but not so with children. 25% of children will die later from liver cancer or liver cirrhosis caused by the infection.
There are vaccines for 2 of the 5 viruses, A and B. Hepatitis D occurs only with those with the B virus. The dual infection can be very serious.
Symptoms of hepatitis include:
- Loss of appetite
- Mild fever
- Muscle or joint aches
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain
as well as these less common symptoms:
- Dark urine
- Light-colored stools
- Generalized itching
- Altered mental state, stupor, or coma
If you experience any of these symptoms or if a family member or close contact comes down with hepatitis contact your doctor.
Hepatitis A is spread primarily through food or water contaminated by feces from an infected person. It can also spread through contact with infected blood and bodily fluids. If you are a healthcare worker get extra protection with medical uniforms that repel blood and all fluids including bodily fluids.