Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver that is caused by infectious viruses and non-infectious factors like excessive drinking of alcohol, toxins, and some medications. Hepatitis can be classified into five. There are hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E.

According to the Guardian Newspaper, there are over 19 million Nigerians living with Hepatitis. However, much attention has been drawn away from this disease due to the prevalence of Covid-19 and Monkeypox in recent times, but Hepatitis should not be taken for granted as it is even more common among Nigerians.

Wondering how to prevent Hepatitis?

These are some preventive measures that you can take to ensure that you keep hepatitis away from you and your household.

Proper awareness and education

Learn more about hepatitis from credible sources like your physicians and other medical practitioners around you. You could also visit your local primary health center and request communication materials on Hepatitis. For those that prefer to source information online, please always ensure that you verify this information from a medical professional before taking any drastic action.

Avoid abuse of drugs and alcohol

Abusing drugs, using an unprescribed medication, or drinking alcohol excessively can lead to ‘non-viral’ hepatitis. These can damage your liver leaving you in a precarious and dangerous position health-wise.

Good Personal and Environment Hygiene

Observe personal hygiene by washing or sanitizing your hands as often as possible, washing your food properly, and sterilizing your body-grooming equipment (e.g. hair clippers, nail cutters, etc.) before and after every use. Your surroundings should also be kept neat and tidy to reduce the risks of getting hepatitis.

Avoid Sharing Personal Items
Your items are personal for a reason! Avoid sharing items like toothbrushes, clippers, nail cutters, and shaving sticks with others. Hepatitis can be transmitted through these items therefore, let your personal items be for you alone.

Practice safe sex

HIV/AIDS is not the only infection spread through unsafe sex. Hepatitis and many other diseases can also be transmitted from person to person when they have unprotected sex. Stick to one partner if you can and ensure you use protection like Condoms (male/female) when in doubt of your partner’s health status.

Avoid Unsafe Injection Practices
According to the WHO, Hepatitis is one of the diseases most frequently passed on through unsafe injection practices. While this is not your primary responsibility, unless you have a condition that requires you to inject yourself with medications often/at home; always insist on the use of new syringes and needles when you’re being injected at any health center or by any caregiver. Avoid unnecessary injections, reusing needles and syringes, sharing needles or single doses with someone else, etc. to reduce the risk of contracting Hepatitis.

Get vaccinated
Vaccines are available for some classes of hepatitis. These vaccines should be administered in a medical center on the scheduled dates advised by a medical practitioner.  At present, there is no vaccine for Hepatitis C which is considered the most dangerous of all the classifications. Ask your hospital for the schedule of hepatitis vaccines for children and adults or go to any Primary health center for more information.

Get treated, if infected…

Please note that Hepatitis is always a death sentence if caught early. Consult a doctor if you suspect you might have hepatitis and start treatment early enough to reduce the chances of fatality. Most importantly get your kids and yourself vaccinated if you have not done so already.

Stay Safe, Dear Reader.