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Thursday, October 25, 2007:
PSA: Hepatitis - get vaccinated
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I'm going to make this short and sweet: no preaching or being bossy, other than I want you to seriously think about my request. Recently someone I've known for years was diagnosed with Hepatitis B, which is a serious disease that is caused by a virus that attacks the liver. Chronic hepatitis B may cause liver cirrhosis which may then lead to liver cancer, a fatal disease with very poor response to current chemotherapy. He has no idea how he got it, but it could have been a multitude of things.
Some of the ways to get hepatitis (copied from the website):
  • having sex with an infected person without using a condom

  • sharing drug needles

  • having a tattoo or body piercing done with dirty tools that were used on someone else

  • getting pricked with a needle that has infected blood on it (health care workers can get hepatitis B this way)

  • living with someone who has hepatitis B

  • sharing a toothbrush or razor with an infected person

  • traveling to countries where hepatitis B is common

How can you protect yourself? That's easy:

  • You can get the hepatitis B vaccine.

"The hepatitis B vaccine is given through three shots. All babies should get the vaccine. Infants get the first shot within 12 hours after birth. They get the second shot at age 1 to 2 months and the third shot between ages 6 and 18 months. Older children and adults can get the vaccine, too. They get three shots over 6 months. Children who have not had the vaccine should get it.

You need all of the shots to be protected. If you are traveling to other countries, make sure you get all the shots before you go. If you miss a shot, call your doctor or clinic right away to set up a new appointment."

*This information has been provided by the National Digestive Diseases warehouse

*You may also visit the Hepatitis B Foundation for updates on vaccinations and other relevant news about Hepatitis B
*You can find and print up educational materials at this site - Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Now just so you know: I'm not afraid to be around this person; we have known each other a long time, so I completely trust him and feel comfortable around him, plus it's not easy to get hepatitis. However it can't hurt to get vaccinated, especially if I decide to go on another cruise. He had been on one earlier in the year with his family - they went to Belize - and South America is prevalent for hepatitis, so he somehow could have gotten it that way. You just can't be too careful, so yes, I plan on getting the shots. In many cases, they are even covered by insurance, so really, what's the risk?

Please. Get vaccinated. You are worth it.

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  1. My work offers free Hep B vaccinations ~ I got mine a few years ago.

  2. Sorry, I don't do vaccinations.
    All the power to you though.

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