It’s hepatitis awareness month, and District Health Department #10 is encouraging people to be aware of the signs of hepatitis and get tested.
“This month is specifically raising awareness for viral hepatitis, which are caused by viruses that cause illness to the liver,” said DHD #10 Medical Director Dr. Jennifer Morse.
Hepatitis is a general term for something that causes a disease in the liver.
Hepatitis A, B, and C are the most common types we hear about.
“With hepatitis B and C, most people that are infected don’t actually have any symptoms,” said Dr. Morse. “They have a chronic illness, which usually gets picked up by just abnormal lab work or if they get really, really sick. They eventually will have tiredness and yellowing of the eyes and skin, and eventually they’ll be diagnosed. With hepatitis A, that illness will also show up in the same way. They get tired, get nauseous, might throw up, have belly pain and have yellowing of the skin or eyes.”
Dr. Morse said it’s important for all adults to be tested for hepatitis C at least once in their life.
“About one-third to one-half of people are undiagnosed with hepatitis because most people who have it don’t know that they have it,” Dr. Morse said. “We just want to bring awareness to people to know that this is something to be aware of and you may not know you have it until you get tested for it.”
For those interested in getting screened for or vaccinated against hepatitis, contact DHD#10 at 888-217-3904.