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Prevention

There is no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C. But you can reduce your risk of becoming infected:

  • Don't share needles or other equipment (such as cotton, spoons, and water) if you inject drugs. Many cities have needle exchange programs that provide free, sterile needles so that you don't have to share needles. If you want to stop using drugs, ask your doctor or someone you trust to help you find out about drug treatment programs.
  • Follow safety guidelines if you work in health care. Wear protective gloves and clothing, and dispose of needles and other contaminated sharp objects properly.
  • Make sure the practitioner sterilizes the instruments and supplies if you get a tattoo, have your body pierced, or have acupuncture.

If you have hepatitis C, you can help prevent spreading it to others:

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  • Don't share needles or other equipment such as cotton, spoons, and water if you continue to use needles to inject drugs.
  • Keep cuts, scrapes, and blisters covered to prevent others from coming in contact with your blood and other body fluids. Throw out any blood-soaked items such as used Band-Aids.
  • Don't donate blood or sperm.
  • Wash your hands—and any object that has come in contact with your blood—thoroughly with water and soap.
  • Don't share your toothbrush, razor, nail clippers, diabetes supplies, or anything else that might have your blood on it.

Breast-feeding mothers who have hepatitis C can continue to breast-feed their babies, because hepatitis C cannot be spread through breast milk. If you are breast-feeding, try to avoid having cracked nipples, which might pose a risk of spreading the virus to your baby.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 15, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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