Hepatitis is typically characterized by a disease of the liver. It ranges from curable liver infections in some to liver cancer in others. Hepatitis B and C are the most common types of hepatitis, affecting millions of Pakistanis each year. Here are some of the causes and symptoms for these hepatitis in Pakistan.
Hepatitis B and C are transmitted to the body in various ways, usually through the skin. Reused needles are among the main causes for the spread of the viruses. The use of infected needles is a common malpractice in Pakistan. This is carried out due to lack of education and disregard in terms of basic health code violation. Apart from needles, countless other methods of acquiring the diseases are present. These include the use of contaminated blood products, razor blades, dental and medical equipment, as well as un-screened blood transfusions.
Women who go to parlors regularly are also at risk of getting the disease, due to sharing certain facial tools. Furthermore, children may have HBV at birth since it may be passed on from the mother during pregnancy. Moreover, HBV and HCV can result in chronic liver infections, that are the cause of numerous deaths each year countrywide.
The most worrying part about Hepatitis B and C is that most of the time, the symptoms aren’t apparent until the disease reaches a critical stage. Incidentally, symptoms start to show one to six months after the virus attacks. Intense abdominal pain, nausea, fatigue and jaundice are common symptoms of HBV and HCV.
In some cases, the disease lasts for a couple of weeks, whereas in other cases chronic liver infections, or even liver cancer may occur. Common victims of this deadly disease happen to be drug addicts who inject contaminated needles, as well as patients receiving blood products.
One of the primary things to always be careful about is checking the needles that doctors and nurses use on you. Make sure they are properly sealed, and are opened from their packaging right in front of you. Furthermore, make sure that they are discarded after being used on you, since this is your civic and moral duty as a citizen of the country.
Secondly, make sure that any piercings you get are done at clean, hygienic places, with needles and guns coming from reliable sources. Do not share facial tools, such as razor blades, needles, or even tweasers.
Lastly, make sure your medical or dental care is given by reliable sources. There are many hospitals in Pakistan that are including HBV vaccinations in the immunization structure for children. This is because the symptoms are not easily detectable.
Furthermore, antiviral drugs are also being used as a cure for some of the cases.
Hepatitis A and E are both transmitted from one to the other through the oral route, or feces. This is done with the intake of contaminated food or water. Lack of proper hygiene and limited knowledge of food sources is the main reason why so many Pakistanis fall victim to this virus.
Poor sanitation and drainage system is one of the major underlying causes of acquiring HAV and HAE through contaminated water. However, what’s important to note here is that people visiting Pakistan are more prone to catching these viruses as compared to those living in Pakistan. This is because living within those conditions has its perks. People who acquire the disease during childhood develop immunity by the time they are older. On the other hand, people visiting the country are not used to being exposed to such conditions, whereby their bodies are unable to handle the virus when it attacks.
Symptoms may appear two to nine weeks after the virus infects its victim. The symptoms include fatigue, fever, loss of appetite, jaundice and abdominal pain. Depending on the severity of the illness, it may last from two weeks to several months. Infants and children may spread the virus after they are affected by it, whereas mortality rate is higher in older people. For this reason, Hepatitis A vaccines are also being included in the immunization structure for children in many institutions of the country.
Preventive measures are all mostly related to hygiene and taking care of food sources. Firstly, it is advised to drink boiled water instead of mineral or any other.
Secondly, hands should be washed as frequently as possible, before and after eating. Body hygiene should be taken extra care of.
Lastly, food sources should be monitored. In the case of fruits or vegetables, they should be thoroughly washed before consuming.
Therefore, we see that even though the disease causes numerous deaths in the country, there is not much that is needed to prevent its spread.