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Lifestyle Changes to Manage Viral Hepatitis
Lifestyle changes can help you prevent further damage to your liver and prevent the spread of the disease to others.
General Guidelines for Managing Hepatitis
Prevent Further Damage to Your Liver
Avoid ingesting anything that can cause additional liver damage, such as:
- Certain medications—Acetaminophen and other medications can affect your liver. Check with your doctor before using any new prescription or over the counter medications, herbs, or supplements.
Talk to your doctor about vaccines that may be available to prevent other types of viral hepatitis.
Prevent the Spread of Hepatitis to Others
Practicing proper hygiene techniques will help prevent the spread of infection. Do the following:
- Wash your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom or before and after changing a diaper.
- Wash your hands with soap and water before eating or preparing food.
- Do not prepare food for others without your doctor's permission if you have any form of hepatitis. Some types of hepatitis may be spread by food handling.
- Carefully clean all household utensils after use.
- Avoid injected drug use, especially with shared needles. If you use IV drugs, talk to your doctor about getting treatment.
- Tell your doctors, dentists, sexual partner, and close personal contacts that you have hepatitis.
- Never donate blood, organs, or tissue if you have hepatitis.
- Discuss your hepatitis status with your doctor during pregnancy or, preferably, before becoming pregnant to ensure the baby receives appropriate treatment.
- Use condoms regularly or abstain from sex.
- Limit your number of sexual partners. A mutually monogamous relationship is best.
Do not share personal items that might have blood or body fluids on them, such as:
- Manicuring tools
- Pierced earrings
When to Contact Your Doctor
- If you suspect you have hepatitis but have not received medical care
- If you have any questions about hepatitis
Hepatitis A. American Liver Foundation website. Available at: http://www.liverfoundation.org/abouttheliver/info/hepatitisa. Updated August 17, 2010. Accessed January 19, 2011.
Overview of acute viral hepatitis. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/hepatic-and-biliary-disorders/hepatitis/overview-of-acute-viral-hepatitis. Updated June 2010. Accessed January 19, 2011.
Overview of chronic viral hepatitis. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/hepatic-and-biliary-disorders/hepatitis/overview-of-chronic-hepatitis. Updated July 2010. Accessed January 19, 2011.
Viral hepatitis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis. Updated October 15, 2010. Accessed January 19, 2011.
What I need to know about Hepatitis B. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/liver-disease/hepatitis-b/Pages/ez.aspx. Accessed January 19, 2011.
- Reviewer: David L. Horn, MD
- Review Date: 03/2016
- Update Date: 03/15/2015