Understanding Hepatitis C -- Prevention
How Hepatitis C Is Not Spread
Hepatitis C is not known to spread by casual contact, kissing, hugging, breastfeeding, sharing eating utensils, coughing, or sneezing. If a mom’s nipples are cracked and bleeding, she should temporarily stop nursing until her nipples have healed. Then she can resume nursing.
Protecting the Blood Supply
One of the main problems with preventing hepatitis C transmission is that most people who are infected do not display symptoms initially. Many only find out when they have a blood test for an unrelated reason. Until relatively recently, this often resulted in infected blood and organs being used in transfusions and transplants.
As of July 1992, all blood and organ donations are screened for the hepatitis C virus. Although not perfect, only about 1 in 1.6 million blood transfusions may transmit hepatitis C. Anyone who received a blood transfusion or organ donation prior to July 1992 should be tested for the virus.
As of 1987, all blood products for the treatment of hemophilia are treated to remove infectious viruses, such as hepatitis C and HIV. If you took any blood products before 1987, however, you should be tested for hepatitis C.