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Can acute hepatitis B or C be prevented?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Hepatitis B
Yes, hepatitis B can be prevented. Hepatitis B vaccine can be given to most infants, children, and adults, and is the only way to prevent hepatitis B infection. You can help prevent the spread of the hepatitis B virus by avoiding the following behaviors:

  • Unprotected contact with blood and bodily fluids
  • Unprotected sex with multiple partners
  • Exposure to or frequent contact with blood
  • Giving or receiving tattoos
  • Sharing needles or personal hygiene products such as razors and toothbrushes

At birth, infants are usually given the first of three doses of the hepatitis B vaccine. The vaccination schedule is usually completed within six months of the first dose.

Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C is caused by contact with contaminated blood, so the best way to prevent acute hepatitis C infection is to avoid contact with blood. To do this, you should avoid sharing:

  • Needles
  • Razors
  • Personal hygiene products

Sexual transmission is considered to be uncommon, but it's smart to practice safe sex, particularly if you don't know your partner's hepatitis C status. Frequent hand washing is also recommended to avoid contamination from infected blood. All people should use precautions when handling blood.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.