Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that can be caused by a virus. The most common types of viral hepatitis are A, B and C. About 600,000 Canadians have Hepatitis B or C, which can result in serious liver damage.
Hepatitis causes Hepatitis A is usually spread through contaminated food and water. Hepatitis B and C are spread through contact with contaminated blood. Hepatitis B is also a sexually transmitted infection. Washing hands before eating and handling food, using condoms during sex and never sharing needles, razors or toothbrushes can reduce the risk of contracting hepatitis.
Hepatitis symptoms Often Hepatitis B and C have no symptoms. Hepatitis A or B may cause flu-like symptoms, such as achy joints, fatigue and abdominal pain or jaundice.
Hepatitis diagnosis/tests If you’re concerned you may have hepatitis or your doctor suspects it, she’ll order simple blood tests to detect the presence of the virus or the antibodies the body produces to fight it. She may also recommend blood tests to see if your liver is inflamed or damaged.
Hepatitis treatment Medications may be used to treat Hepatitis B and C to and help prevent serious liver damage. Hepatitis B is incurable, but a vaccine is available, and most infections clear up on their own.
Hepatitis prevention Hepatitis infections can be prevented. To guard against hepatitis B and C do not have unprotected sex or share needles or drug use equipment. Don’t share sharp instruments such as razors, toothbrushes, clippers and scissors which may bring you in contact with infected blood. Get vaccinated against Hepatitis A and B so you will become immune to the viruses.