Hepatitis C Transmission Risks

Hepatitis C is a viral infection that is spread via blood. Without treatment, hepatitis C mainly targets the liver and can lead to serious liver damage and even liver cancer over time. The downside of hepatitis C is that people with the virus do not exhibit any signs and symptoms until it starts to damage their liver. Here are the most common forms of Hepatitis C transmission.

Sharing Needles

Any exposure to infected blood increases the risk of getting hepatitis C. Hepatitis C is most commonly spread through sharing needles. People who use intravenous drugs are at an increased risk of hepatitis C due to sharing needles. Getting tattoos and piercings with unsterile equipment is also high-risk and another way hepatitis C can be spread.

Blood Transfers

The primary way hepatitis C is transmitted is via blood, so it can also be spread via infected blood transfusions. Until 1992, blood donations were not being screened for the virus, so many individuals with hepatitis C got infected before 1992.

Sex

Although transmission via sexual contact is not common, exposure to blood is still possible if a sexual partner is infected with hepatitis C. Small cuts, for instance, can increase the risk of transmission. Even though they are fully effective, using protection during sex is important to prevent transmission.

Mother to Child

Though not very common, pregnant women who have hepatitis C can potentially pass the virus onto their child at birth. Mothers who have the hepatitis C virus should also avoid breastfeeding to prevent transmission.

Toothbrushes and Razors

Even though this is not very common as well, sharing personal hygiene products like toothbrushes and razors that can make contact with infected blood can also put you at a risk of getting hepatitis C. While the likelihood is very small, but sores in the mouth or cuts while shaving can contaminate razors and toothbrushes.

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