Family Member With Hepatitis – Should You Take Precautions?
Our adult daughter says she is a hepatitis C carrier. Are there any precautions that we should be taking?
The most important precaution you can take right now is educating yourself. That will help allay your concerns about catching hepatitis C. It may also help you assist and support your daughter, who is faced with a chronic disease that could cause serious problems later on.
As to transmission, hepatitis C is mainly blood-borne, meaning it is spread from an infected person’s blood to another person’s blood. Many drug abusers have caught hepatitis C from sharing needles. It can also be spread by accidental needle sticks, as sometimes happens with healthcare workers.
People may have been exposed if they had blood transfusions before 1992, when we starting screening the blood supply for this form of hepatitis. Tattoos and body piercing are another potential source of exposure, if sterile procedures are not used in the process. It is possible to get hepatitis C through sexual intercourse, but this is a pretty rare occurrence.
Physical contact alone does not spread the hepatitis C virus. Kissing, hugging, handshaking, close contact, etc., are all safe as long as no blood is involved. I wouldn’t share toothbrushes, but most people don’t do that anyway.