Friday, July 28 marks World Hepatitis Day, a global disease-awareness day sponsored by the World Health Organization

July 20, 2017


Friday, July 28 marks World Hepatitis Day, a global disease-awareness day sponsored by the World Health Organization. Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver, usually because of a virus, may also be caused by heavy drinking and drugs. Many people infected with a hepatitis virus do not know they have it until long after they are exposed. This can happen anytime between 2 weeks and 6 months after being infected. Affected people can then go a long time developing severe liver disease, and they can pass the disease to other people without knowing it.

Hepatitis B and hepatitis C occur the most frequently, and they both can lead to severe, life-long conditions, such as liver cancer. Both hepatitis B and hepatitis C are spread when blood of an infected person comes into contact with a non-infected person’s blood. Hepatitis B can also be spread by contact with semen and saliva of an infected person. Sharing needles and syringes is one of the most common ways that hepatitis B and C can be spread.

Symptoms of hepatitis include fever, fatigue, appetite loss, nausea, vomiting, belly pain, dark urine, grey stool (poop), joint pain, and jaundice (yellowing skin). There is no medication available to treat hepatitis B, but infected people can be monitored by their doctors to manage their liver disease. Vaccines are also available to prevent hepatitis B. Antiviral medicine has been shown to be effective in treating, and even curing, hepatitis C. Monitoring liver disease progression is also important for hepatitis C patients.

According to the World Hepatitis Day website, the closest WHD event is in Ottawa, Canada. You feel like celebrating in Cincinnati instead, WHD is started a photo campaign to increase awareness to eliminate hepatitis. This campaign, #ShowYourFace, is a selfie campaign to help put a human face and message to stopping the spread of viral hepatitis.

First, google World Health Day and go to the #ShowYourFace selfie tool (under “Get Involved” tab). Next, take a selfie. And add an “I AM” statement, a personal message that explains why you want hepatitis to be eliminated. After you hit “Submit”, your photo and message will be placed in a gallery, and you will be free to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or your other favorite social media platform. Then, encourage your loved ones to participate, too.

If you experience hepatitis symptoms or you believe you were exposed to viral hepatitis, talk to your doctor about possible treatment plans.

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