Hepatitis refers to inflammation of the liver and is a health condition prevalent throughout the world. On World Hepatitis Day, let’s dive into what hepatitis is all about, its types, and most importantly, how hepatitis in Pakistan can be prevented through some actionable tips you can incorporate into your daily lives.
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What is World Hepatitis Day?
World Hepatitis Day is observed annually on July 28th to spread awareness regarding Hepatitis. World Hepatitis Day is marked by the World Health Organization (WHO) as one of the 11 official, global health campaigns.
Every year the World Hepatitis Day comes with a unique theme aimed to familiarize people with Hepatitis and promote its treatment and prevention. The World Hepatitis Day 2021 theme will be “Hepatitis Can’t Wait.”
What is Hepatitis?
Hepatitis means liver inflammation. Hepatitis is a life-threatening condition that can lead to liver failure, scarring of the liver (Cirrhosis), and even liver cancer. It has many different types and can be acute or chronic. According to research, Hepatitis affects a whopping 2.3 billion people around the world and causes 1.4 million deaths per year.
What are the types of Hepatitis?
Viral Hepatitis can be categorized into 5 main types
It can be contracted through eating or drinking unclean food or water that has been contaminated by the fecal matter of a person infected with the virus.
Hepatitis B is caused by coming in contact with the blood, semen, or urine of an infected person. It also spreads through the use of contaminated injections, needles, and personal care items like toothbrushes.
It is caused by the Hepatitis C (HCV) virus and spread through blood-to-blood contact. Using infected injections, needles and practicing unsafe sex can lead to hepatitis C.
Hepatitis D is a rare form of hepatitis caused by the Hepatitis D (HDV) virus. It can only be contracted by patients suffering from hepatitis B and is caused by coming in contact with the body fluids of an infected person.
Hepatitis E is mainly caused by water contamination. People who lack access to clean drinking water are at a higher risk of contracting this form of hepatitis.
Hepatitis in Pakistan
Hepatitis is a common health problem in Pakistan affecting millions of people all across the country. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that almost 12 million people in Pakistan suffer from hepatitis B or C and a staggering 150,000 new cases of hepatitis in Pakistan are reported every year. Moreover, it is estimated that almost 325 people succumb to this deadly disease in Pakistan daily.
5 Tips for Hepatitis Prevention in Pakistan
With proper precautions, lifestyle changes, and safety measures, we can keep ourselves safe from hepatitis. It is rightly said that prevention is better than cure and we as Pakistani citizens must take it upon ourselves to take the proper preventive measures to stop this life-threatening disease once and for all.
Here are some of the ways in which you can reduce the risk of contracting hepatitis:
1. Get vaccinated
Hepatitis A and B are vaccine-preventable diseases. It is advised to get your child vaccinated for HAV as early as 12 months of age followed by a second dose after 6 months. It is also recommended for older children who haven’t been vaccinated in their childhood. For HBV, the immunization process should be started at birth and be completed at 6 months of age. Teenagers and adolescents who haven’t been vaccinated for HBV are also encouraged to get vaccinated. It is also recommended for certain adults who are at risk of getting hepatitis B.
2. Focus on your hygiene
Maintaining good hygiene not only keeps you safe from diseases such as hepatitis but a myriad of other diseases. You should wash your hands thoroughly before and after each meal and after being in close contact with someone. Prioritizing cleanliness can greatly reduce the chances of getting hepatitis A which is mainly spread through contact with an infected person.
3. Unclean water is off-limits
Drinking contaminated water can lead to disastrous consequences like making you susceptible to contracting hepatitis A. You should therefore only drink water that is clean and filtered, and use bottled water frequently while you are traveling.
4. Sharing isn’t caring
When it comes to hepatitis, sharing personal items is a big no. Items like needles, toothbrushes, razors, injections, etc. should never be shared as the contaminated blood of a hepatitis infected person can lead to the spread of hepatitis B, C, and D.
5. Practice safe sex
Hepatitis B is commonly spread through the semen, blood, and urine of an infected person. Using a condom can reduce your chances of contracting HBV significantly.
Hepatitis can prove to be a fatal disease but that does not mean that we cannot effectively protect ourselves against it. As Pakistani citizens, we must take all the relevant preventive measures and precautions to stay safe from hepatitis and also urge our families and loved ones to do the same. Together we can rise above this disease and make Pakistan hepatitis-free!
If you are suffering from hepatitis, it is advised to get a checkup with a top hepatologist in Lahore, Karachi, or Islamabad as soon as possible. To book appointments with the best hepatologists in Pakistan make sure to use oladoc.com or call (042) 38900939 to confirm your appointment.