World Hepatitis Day: 7 lifestyle habits that could put you at risk of hepatitis

Updated on Jul 27, 2022 07:54 PM IST

World Hepatitis Day 2022: According to expert, these are some of the lifestyle mistakes you should stop making to prevent hepatitis.

Hepatitis is essentially inflammation of the liver, which may be caused by an infection or an injury.
Hepatitis is essentially inflammation of the liver, which may be caused by an infection or an injury.

World Hepatitis Day 2022: World Hepatitis Day is celebrated every year on July 28 to raise awareness about viral hepatitis, which causes inflammation of the liver that leads to severe disease and liver cancer, according to WHO (World Health Organization). In low- and middle-income countries, 4.5 million premature Hepatitis deaths can be prevented through vaccinations and awareness by 2030. (Also read: World Hepatitis Day 2022: Common hepatitis myths debunked by expert)

Hepatitis is essentially inflammation of the liver, which may be caused by an infection or an injury. Most commonly hepatitis is viral and caused by hepatitis virus. There are five known variants of this virus that are classified from A to E. It is important to prevent against this deadly disease especially in rainy season as the prevalence of hepatitis infection increases in monsoon because contaminated water is one of the risk factors.

"Hepatitis starts to show symptoms anywhere between two weeks to six months after you get infected. Depending on the type of hepatitis virus you have, the symptoms differ slightly as to when they appear. The symptoms include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-coloured stool, jaundice and fever," says Dr S K Sahoo, General Physician, Apollo 24|7 app, explaining the symptoms of hepatitis.

Dr Sahoo in an interview with HT Digital also talks about the lifestyle habits that can make you more prone to hepatitis.

• Unprotected sex with multiple partners: One of the most common ways of transmitting hepatitis virus is through coming in contact with an infected person’s body fluids including semen. Therefore, one should be very cautious while indulging in unprotected sex with multiple partners, as it may increase the risk of you contracting the virus.

• Contaminated needles: If you indulge in intravenous recreational drug usage, then you may be at a higher risk of developing hepatitis infection because the contaminated needle will become the perfect carrier for the hepatitis virus to travel from infected person to the healthy individual.

• Alcohol consumption: Alcohol reduces your liver’s ability to fight off the hepatitis virus. Therefore, it is best to steer clear of heavy alcohol usage if you want to stay safe from hepatitis infection.

• Unhygienic food habits: Not washing hands before and after eating, eating from roadside vendors, etc are risk factors for hepatitis as it increases the likelihood of you catching the virus.

• Drinking outside water: Hepatitis virus can survive for a prolonged duration in contaminated waters and can enter a person’s body if consumed. Low- and middle-income countries where access to clean drinking water is limited are more prone to hepatitis infections.

• Sedentary lifestyle: Having an inactive lifestyle also becomes a risk factor for hepatitis as the body’s immune system loses its ability to fight the virus.

How to stay hepatitis-safe

- Safe and hygienic living environment is the first and foremost precaution one should take to stay away from a hepatitis infection.

- Apart from these lifestyle changes mentioned above, getting vaccinated for the strains of viruses also helps prevent infections.

"Because the symptoms of hepatitis infections do not show up early it becomes imperative to get lab tests done as soon as the first symptoms start to show to prevent severe damage to the liver," concludes Dr Sahoo.

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