Tag Archives: liver

DHEC offering Free Hepatitis Testing during Hepatitis Awareness Month

May is Hepatitis Awareness Month, and while National Hepatitis Testing Day is on May 19, DHEC’s health departments will be providing free testing on May 16.  Know Hepatitis LogosAppointments are encouraged. Please call 1-855-4-SCDHEC (472-3432) to schedule your appointment.

There are many strains of the hepatitis virus but for this year’s Hepatitis Awareness Month DHEC is focusing on Hepatitis A, B, and C, the major causes of contagious liver disease. The department urges anyone who has ever injected drugs, even once, and individuals born between 1945 and 1965, to talk with their healthcare professional about getting tested for hepatitis C and ask if they should be vaccinated for hepatitis A and B.

Hepatitis A is highly contagious. It can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Hepatitis A may occur in the context of community-wide epidemics, or from exposures to food contaminated with the virus. Hepatitis A usually spreads when a person unknowingly ingests the virus from objects, food, or drinks contaminated by undetected amounts of stool from an infected person. It can also spread from close personal contact with an infected person such as through sex, needle-sharing by IV drug users or caring for someone who is ill.

Both Hepatitis B and C are usually spread when blood or another body fluid from a person infected with the virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. Hepatitis B and C virus infections cause some people to develop an acute, or short-term, illness, while others develop a chronic, or long-term, illness.

In 2016, there were 33 cases of acute hepatitis B and 457 cases of chronic hepatitis B reported in South Carolina. Hepatitis B cases were on a steady decline nationally after the widespread use of the hepatitis B vaccine, but in recent years that rate of decline has slowed.

Nearly half of people living with the hepatitis C virus have no symptoms and don’t know they are infected. The vast majority of new infections go undiagnosed. In South Carolina, almost 6,000 people were reported with chronic hepatitis C in 2016. Of those, the majority were baby boomers who were born between 1945 and 1965. Baby boomers are six times more likely to be infected with hepatitis C than those in other age groups. They are also at a much higher risk of death from the virus.

Nationally, the number of new hepatitis C infections has nearly tripled over five years, reaching a 15-year high. The greatest increases and the highest overall number of cases were among young people ages 20-29 who inject drugs.

Vaccinations are available for hepatitis A and B but not C.

For more information about viral hepatitis and where to get tested visit www.scdhec.gov/ViralHepatitis or call the STD/HIV Hotline at 1-800-322-2437.

From Other Blogs: Flu, women and heart disease, carbon monoxide & more

A collection of health and environmental posts from other governmental blogs.

6 Things You Need to Know About This Flu Season

Seasonal flu activity has been intense this season. As of January 20, 2018, all 49 states in the continental United States reported widespread flu activity for three consecutive weeks. This is a first since CDC’s Influenza Division began tracking flu this way. It’s likely that flu activity will be elevated for many weeks to come. — From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Public Health Matters Blog

Women and heart disease: what every woman should know

You may be surprised to know that heart disease is the leading killer of women and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined. In fact, approximately one woman dies from heart disease every minute. — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

When can you go back to work or school after an illness?

Staying home when you’re sick is important, but how do you know when you’re okay to venture back into the world? Katie Schill, nurse practitioner with Palmetto Health’s Mobile Clinic, offers some answers… — From Flourish

Are You Part of the Silent Epidemic?

You’ve heard of mammograms to find breast cancer and tests to find colorectal (colon) cancer. But do you know how to help prevent liver cancer?

There’s no screening test for liver cancer. But there is a screening test for hepatitis C, which is the leading cause of liver cancer. — From the CDC’s The Topic Is Cancer blog

Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning Prevention

Every year, at least 430 people die in the U. S. from accidental CO poisoning. Approximately 50,000 people in the U.S. visit the emergency department each year due to accidental CO poisoning. There are steps you can take to help protect yourself and your household from CO poisoning.

CO is found in fumes produced by portable generators, stoves, lanterns, and gas ranges, or by burning charcoal and wood. CO from these sources can build up in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces. People and animals in these spaces can be poisoned and can die from breathing CO. — From the CDC’s Your Health — Your Environment Blog