As a mother of a child with hepatitis B, I was always concerned my child would transmit the virus to others. One day a toddler came up and bit her in the finger and drew blood. She was strapped into her stroller, and yet I felt guilty and fearful she might transmit the virus to “the biter”. I rushed my child to the pediatrician, and immediately inquired about the safety of the other toddler. He reminded me that that “blood is a two-way street for the transmission of infectious diseases”. I should worry about MY child. The other child was likely vaccinated since HBV vaccination is required in my state. I heeded his advice, and from that day forth I started thinking about the safety of MY child and others infected with HBV.
Fortunately, hepatitis B is a vaccine preventable disease, so that does ease concerns regarding the transmission of HBV to others. A simple three shot HBV vaccine series does the trick. There is no reason someone should NOT be protected against a vaccine preventable virus that is 100 times more infectious than HIV! Stop feeling guilty, and start thinking about protecting YOU!
If you have HBV, Hepatitis A (HAV) can be very dangerous. HAV is vaccine preventable. A simple two shot series will keep all those with or without HBV safe from highly-contagious HAV.
Unfortunately, there is no vaccine for HCV or HIV. If you are HBV+, a co-infection is complicated and dangerous, and can result in significant liver damage. The best way to combat infection from HCV, HIV and other infectious diseases is to use standard precautions.
Make standard precautions part of your everyday life. Simple hand washing and proper avoidance of contact with someone else’s blood and body fluids is an easy way to avoid transmission of potentially life threatening illnesses, or any illness. Cover open cuts with a Band-Aid. Provide a barrier between someone else’s blood or body fluids, and any open wounds, sores, mucus membranes and orifices. You don’t want to get infected with another blood borne pathogen! Does this mean you need to look like someone out of a bio-hazard lab with goggles and gloves? No! Use common sense, and you can be safe without going overboard. A simple barrier between you and someone else’s body fluids is the best way to avoid exposure. Keep something like a clean diaper, towel or wrapped sanitary pad, in a plastic baggie, in your car, and on each level of your home.
Personal toiletries should be just that…personal. Keep your toothbrush away from your sibling, friend or SO. Neatly dispose of used feminine hygiene products because it’s the right thing to do. Don’t leave your razor or nail clippers lying around. Sharp, personal objects really are a perfect transmission route for infectious disease.
Got HBV? Remember, keep YOURSELF safe! And the kid in the stroller… well she’s a teen, today. Now there’s a whole new set of worries.