You know how you’ve been telling your kids all these years not to do anything risky… especially some of the things you did yourself?
“Don’t smoke weed, or anything else, for that matter.”
“Don’t have boys over when we’re not home.”
“You won’t be able to get a decent job if you get a tattoo.”
“That girl will just get you in trouble.”
“If you drink too much you’ll make a fool of yourself.” (How do you know?)
“Don’t stay out past midnight or you’ll turn into a pumpkin.”
Of course we worry about our kids. We know they are likely to take a bite out of a few forbidden fruits, they will have their momentary thrills, their highs and lows, a few bumps and crashes.
We know this because we were teenagers once.
But we want them to survive the rocky teen years and emerge unscathed as educated, gainfully-employed, happy-in-relationships, responsible adults … to come out on the other side without any serious consequences or regrets.
Wait a minute.
Did you know that Hepatitis C can be acquired through a do-it-yourself or get-your-friend-to-do-it tattoo?
Did you know that sharing needles can transmit Hep C?
… that going to a non-reputable tattoo parlour, acupuncturist, or piercing place heightens your risk of contaminated equipment that can transmit Hep C?
… that hepatitis C was an unfortunate by-product of some medical interventions before 1990, during the time when Canada’s blood supply was potentially contaminated?
… that something as simple as sharing razors, toothbrushes, tweezers and nail clippers could pose a risk for hepatitis C?
Did you know that many people who have contracted hepatitis C do not experience any symptoms for 20, 30 even 40 years? And that the undetected disease can progress silently and cause serious damage to your health?
Hepatitis C is a virus transmitted through blood contact that primarily affects the liver. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, joint pain, dark urine, pale feces, stomach pain, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes).
Hepatitis C causes swelling and scarring of the liver, called cirrhosis. This increases the chance of getting liver cancer. Damage from hepatitis is the principle cause of liver transplants. Left untreated, the disease can lead to disability and death.
Hepatitis C affects some 300,000 Canadians. Many are unaware of their condition. Most were born between 1945 and 1975.
So maybe we’ve all done a few things we regret, after all.
The test for hepatitis C is done through a simple blood screening. It’s easy and widely available. Talk to your doctor.
And just mention that you don’t want him to breathe a word about this to your kids.
In the lead-up to World Hepatitis Day on July 28, the Canadian Society for International Health is urging Canadians to know their status, get tested, and learn their options. Be sure to check out the program of community events across the country to mark World Hepatitis Day. https://whdcanada.org/events/
The Canadian Society for International Health (CSIH) brings the Canadian global health community together to better achieve a shared goal of improving health worldwide.