Leland N. Allen, MD
Specialty: Infectious Disease
- infectious disease
- internal medicine
Location and Office HoursSouth Eastern Infectious Disease
636 2nd St NE
Alabaster, AL 35007
- BlueCross BlueShield of Alabama
- HealthSpring of Alabama
- United Healthcare
- Shelby Baptist Medical Center
Should I get vaccinated for hepatitis?
Michael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answeredYou'll need a one-time vaccine for hepatitis A and B if a doctor thinks it's necessary -- for example, because you are human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) positive or exposed to blood on the job, or you travel to countries where the hepatitis B virus (HBV) is common. It's recommended not only for adults in certain high-risk groups, but also for anyone who wants to prevent HBV.
What increases my risk for hepatitis?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI) answered
Your risk of hepatitis increases if you are a healthcare worker in the field of dentistry, medicine, and rehabilitative care, including nursing homes. Intravenous drug users and people who have unprotected sex and/or multiple sexual partners also run a higher risk of becoming infected with a hepatitis virus. Other factors that can increase your risk of hepatitis include the following:
- contact with infected saliva from shared eating utensils or drinking ware
- contact with infected blood (needles, shared razors, toothbrushes, etc.)
- travel to areas in the world where hepatitis is common
- give or receive tattoos
- receive an organ transplant
- drink contaminated water or eat contaminated foods
- share items or eat food handled by someone who hasn't washed their hands after using the bathroom
- using or abusing alcohol
- family member with recent hepatitis A
- blood transfusion before 1990
Mothers infected with hepatitis B or C can pass the infection onto their newborn during birth. People with HIV or AIDS and other autoimmune disease also have a higher risk of becoming infected with a hepatitis virus.Helpful? 1 person found this helpful.
What precautions should I take if I plan on traveling abroad?
UCLA Health answeredPeople booking a journey to a developing or otherwise exotic locale should plan ahead to make sure they don’t put themselves at risk for infections endemic to that region, according to Zachary Rubin, MD, director of the Santa Monica-UCLA Center for Travel and Tropical Medicine. Part of the planning involves education on the risks, what to bring and what to avoid. Prospective travelers should consult with their doctors to ensure that their general health is good.
"One of the most important reasons for planning ahead is to ensure there is time to obtain any necessary vaccinations," notes Lynn Stephens, a nurse-practitioner with the Travel Medicine Program at the UCLA Family Health Center in Santa Monica. "We recommend getting the vaccines four to six weeks before travel to allow time for them to take effect and for patients to get over any side effects they might experience from the vaccines.”
"It’s important to be aware of everything you eat and drink," Stephens says. Travelers to less-developed parts of the world should stick with bottled water and, where it isn’t available, use filtering devices and tablets or bring the water to a boil. Avoid uncooked vegetables and fresh fruits that don’t have thick rinds or peels. In case these efforts fail, people are sometimes given a prescription for antibiotics and are advised to stay hydrated. “As long as you can keep fluid down, the risk is minimal,” Dr. Rubin says. In more serious cases, patients can be referred to local healthcare providers.
Sometimes there are special concerns for the youngest and oldest travelers. Parents are advised not to take the youngest children to certain parts of the world if they are not old enough to have had all of their immunizations. For toddlers and young school-age children, watching what they eat and drink is paramount. Children are at greater risk from diarrheal diseases and malaria, so taking protective measures, including ensuring proper hydration, is particularly important. For the elderly, Dr. Rubin recommends traveler’s insurance that guarantees they can be flown to a developed country if they require treatment while abroad.
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