Understanding Hepatitis -- Prevention

The virus that causes hepatitis is often easy to spread, but there are many things you can do to prevent it.

Stay Clean

Good personal habits will help reduce the spread of hepatitis A and hepatitis E. If you’re in a place where you’re not sure things are clean, boil water. Cook all food well and peel all fruit.

If you’re a health care worker or caregiver for someone who has a contagious form of hepatitis, take extra steps to stay clean. Wash your hands, utensils, bedding, and clothes with soap and hot water.

To prevent the spread of hepatitis B, stay away from the blood or body of someone who has it. That means no kissing or sex. Don’t share razors, scissors, nail files, toothbrushes, or needles, either.

Get Vaccinated

If you plan to travel to countries where hepatitis is widespread, get protected. You can get vaccinations for hepatitis A and B.

In the U.S., all children are advised to receive a series of hepatitis B vaccine before they start school. Kids who live in places with a lot of hep A should get that vaccine. There isn't a shot for hepatitis C.

There’s also a shot called immune globulin that may prevent infection from some hep A and hep B after you’re exposed. But you have to get it within a couple of weeks. If you think you’ve been exposed, get immune globulin and vaccinations for the viruses as soon as possible.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on March 22, 2015

Sources

SOURCES:

American Academy of Family Physicians.

WebMD Medical Reference: "Hepatitis C."

WebMD Medical Reference: "Hepatitis B."

WebMD Medical Reference: "Combination antiviral therapy for hepatitis C."

Manual of Family Practice.

© 2015 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.