Each 28th July is observed as world hepatitis day to generate awareness about the dangerous disease. It is among the most dreaded diseases that affects millions of people worldwide. India has over 40 million hepatitis infected individuals and is ranked 2nd for the most hepatitis cases registered. Each year, the deadly disease claims the lives of approximately 6 million people in India. The World Health Organisation (WHO) initiated the observances of World Hepatitis Day with a mission to eliminate this deadly viral disease by the year 2030. Hepatitis affliction in India has reached epidemic proportions, which is why it is important to be aware of hepatitis, its causes and prevention measures.
Hepatitis is an inflammatory condition of the liver. It is majorly caused due to a virus or secondary factors such as drugs, toxins or alcohol. Hepatitis caused due to viral infections can be categorized as A, B, C, D and E. Hepatitis type A and E is generally cause due to consumption of contaminated food and water. While Hepatitis type B, C and D are caused due to contact with contaminated body fluids. A hepatitis infection may occur with mild or no symptoms. The most common symptom of a hepatitis infection are yellowing of the skin and the eyes, stomach pain, vomiting, dark urine, fever and extreme fatigue. Acute hepatitis infection can cause lasting damage to the liver which could lead to dangerous complications such as liver cirrhosis, cancer of the liver as well as liver failure.
Treatment and recovery
Since Hepatitis is a viral infection, it is very difficult to treat. Acute Hepatitis is usually treated with a combination of anti-viral drugs as well as medications to relieve the symptoms such as fever and nausea. For chronic hepatitis infections, the medications may go on for more than 6 months to a year. Recovery from the symptoms that follow a hepatitis infection is often very slow. It may take several weeks or months for a person to recovery completely.
The Key to prevention of hepatitis infection is knowing how it spreads. By the taking the following precautionary measure, you can avoid hepatitis infections to a great extent:-
- Immunization for children against Hepatitis A is available these days. Adults can take the same in booster doses every six to twelve months.
- Avoid consuming tap water in areas of unsafe water supply.
- Do not consume raw fruits and vegetable that have been washed in contaminated water.
- Practice safe sex, since hepatitis C infection can spread through body fluids.
- Avoid sharing personal items such as razors and toothbrushes.