The word brings with it fear and anxiety... and misinformation.
First off, let's be clear....
What is Hepatitis?
Many think it is a disease that only happens to "other people," specifically people who are drug users, homeless or same sex partners.
The fact is that Hepatitis in its many forms can affect any of us.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. When the liver is inflamed or damaged, its function can be affected. Heavy alcohol use, toxins, some medications, and certain medical conditions can cause hepatitis, but it is often caused by a virus. In the United States, the most common of this virus is Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C."
"Hepatitis A is a highly contagious, short-term liver infection caused by the Hepatitis A virus."
The CDC says that people who are infected by Hepatitis A "may feel sick for a few weeks to several months but usually recover completely and do not have lasting liver damage. In rare cases, Hepatitis A can cause liver failure and even death; this is more common in older people and in people with other serious health issues, such as chronic liver disease."
How common is Hepatitis A in the United States?
Good question, but a little bit tricky to answer because not everyone who has Hepatitis A gets diagnosed.
According to the CDC in 2018, "a total of 12,474 Hepatitis A cases were reported in the United States. The actual number of cases reported in that year is probably closer to 24,900. Since 2016, person-to-person outbreaks of hepatitis A have been occurring across the United States mainly among people who use injection drugs or are experiencing homelessness, resulting in more than 32,000 cases."
While that doesn't sound like a lot of cases, it does add up. Once the illness starts to spread, it can spread rapidly, too. Most recently, the spread of this virus has dramatically increased in North Carolina and is moving into South Carolina and Tennessee. Like any virus, unless it is eliminated or at least properly controlled, it will continue at exceeding rates. Read this article that talks about the spread of the virus in North Carolina.
How is Hepatitis spread?
According to the CDC, "The Hepatitis virus is found in the stool and blood of people who are infected. This virus is spread when (even in amounts too small to see) through:
Hepatitis A can be spread from close, personal contact with an infected person, such as through certain types of sexual contact, caring for someone who is ill, or using drugs with others. Hepatitis A is very contagious, and people can even spread the virus before they feel sick.
►Eating contaminated food or drink
Contamination of food with the Hepatitis A virus can happen at any point: growing, harvesting, processing, handling, and even after cooking. Contamination of food and water happens more often in countries where Hepatitis A is common. Although uncommon, foodborne outbreaks have occurred in the United States from people eating contaminated fresh and frozen imported food products."
What are the symptoms of hepatitis A?
The CDC further tells us that, "Not everyone with Hepatitis A has symptoms. Adults are more likely to have symptoms than children. If symptoms develop, they usually appear 2 to 7 weeks after infection. Symptoms usually last less than 2 months, although some people can be ill for as long as 6 months.
If symptoms develop, they can include:
Yellow skin or eyes
Not wanting to eat
Dark urine or light-colored stools
How can we kill this virus?
There are several ways to prevent sickness from Hepatitis A, B and C. You can get the vaccination. It has proven to be quite effective.
You can also get the disease and after you recover you will have life-long antibodies against it.
Proper handwashing and never sharing SHARPS (needles) is vitally important.
Or you can kill it—dead in its tracks.
The Hepatitis virus can survive outside the body for months. Heating food and liquids to temperatures of 185°F (85°C) for at least 1 minute can kill the virus. Exposure to freezing temperatures does not kill the virus.
What that means is once the virus is on a surface, it can live there for months and you may never know your home or business has been contaminated!
This is yet another reason why Vital Oxide can help make our lives better. It can kill many types of viruses including multiple strains of hepatitis. Our 2-step process makes stubborn viruses and bacteria head for the hills!
To find out more about how Vital Oxide can help you or if you have questions, find an agent near you. They will be happy to assist you.