The only way to prevent a hepatitis C infection is to prevent contact with infected blood. Keep away from intravenous drugs, practice safe sex, and don't share any items that may have been contaminated with blood. Education about safe and proper methods for handling needles and blood is also essential in preventing hepatitis C.
The most common method of transmitting hepatitis C is through shared, contaminated needles used to inject drugs. Heroin and methamphetamines appear to be the drug of choice for this disease. Staying away from these drugs is the best bet to avoid a hepatitis C infection. If you do use these drugs, never share needles or any drug paraphernalia that may be exposed to blood. Even cocaine straws have been known to transmit this disease.
Practicing safe sex is another great way to prevent hepatitis C infection. Hepatitis C is a sexually transmitted disease, so use latex condoms and test yourself and partner before engaging in unprotected sex. The disease has an incubation period of up to 180 days, so make sure it has been at least this long since any risky behavior before getting tested. Women should avoid sex during menstruation. though it is very rare to transmit hepatitis C this way.
Another way to avoid hepatitis C infection is to not share anything that could be infected. Toothbrushes, razors, and nail clippers are some less obvious examples of items that may be exposed to infected blood. Do not assume you know who may or may not be infected. Be safe and remember that anyone can have hepatitis C and not know it.
Education about sterile practices for handling blood and needles is a key measure in preventing hepatitis C infection. Those in the medical profession play an important role in the prevention or spread of this disease. Always properly dispose of needles and follow correct procedures when exposed blood is present, such as wearing latex gloves and sterilizing the wound.
General first-aid education can also help prevent hepatitis C infection. Avoid coming into direct contact with blood by keeping a stocked first-aid kit handy with bandages and sterile equipment. Pay attention during acupuncture, piercings, and tattoos. It is safest to go with licensed facilities for these types of procedures, but always make sure sterile, new needles are used. You can ensure this by witnessing the needles being taken out of new, sealed packages.
Knowing the risk factors is the best way to prevent hepatitis C infection. Unfortunately, no vaccine is available for this strain of hepatitis. If you have any reason to suspect you may be infected, getting tested is a great way to protect those around you from the disease.