The Record Special Sections Health Quarterly 02-15-2018 - Page 8

8 Thursday , February 15 , 2018 The Record
HEALTH QUARTERLY / ADVERTISING SECTION

‘ Silent Epidemic ’: Symptomless , But Damaging

PHOTO COURTESY OF JAUN011 / THINKSTOCK
Screening for hepatitis C is advisable , particularly for baby boomers — one in 30 have it .
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effects allows individuals to keep their medical status private . Patients sometimes fear workplace discrimination , although guidelines for prevention and control of the infection state that people should not be excluded from work , school , play , childcare , or other settings because they have hepatitis C . CHRONIC HEPATITIS C
Hepatitis C is a contagious viral infection that attacks the liver . It is spread primarily through contact with the blood of an infected person . For the vast majority of its victims , it is a chronic disease that can last a lifetime and lead to many serious liver problems , including liver cancer and cirrhosis , a scarring of the liver . Hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver transplants . Those inflicted can be symptomless for decades , even as the virus is doing serious damage . It is considered a “ silent epidemic .”
Hepatitis C differs in many ways from the other hepatitis viruses , including types A and B , which along with hepatitis C are the most common . The three diseases are caused by different viruses and have different modes of transmission .
An estimated 2.7 to 3.9 million people in the United States have chronic hepatitis C , according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC ), which provides important educational information for the public at www . cdc . gov . The site lists the groups of people most at risk , including :
■ Current injection drug users ;
■ Past injection drug users , including those who injected only one time or many years ago ;
■ People who received body piercing or tattoos done with non-sterile instruments ;
■ People with known exposures to the hepatitis C virus , such as healthcare workers injured by needlesticks ;
■ Recipients of donated blood , blood products and organs before 1992 , once a common means of transmission but now rare in the United States ;
■ Recipients of blood products for clotting problems made before 1987 ;
■ Hemodialysis patients or persons who spent many years on dialysis for kidney failure .
THE FORGOTTEN VIRUS
Of special concern are baby boomers , individuals born between 1945 and 1965 . One in 30 has hepatitis C and doesn ’ t know it , according to www . hepchope . com , a website
See HEPATITIS C , Page9N

Clean Air : Avoid or Remove Pollutants , Allergens

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nose , and sneezing . The chance of a sinus infection is also increased . Sleep can be interrupted , which can affect school and work performance . For those with asthma , the allergens can present a more serious danger .” Doctors see an escalation of these symptoms in winter months , when people spend more time indoors .
Dr . Oppenheimer emphasizes that “ There is no reason to suffer . We have wonderful options available . If people are willing to work , we can make them feel better .” There are environmental and therapeutic options . Both doctors interviewed agree that for dust mites and mold , it is important to keep humidity low . Impermeable covers for pillows and mattresses are recommended , and there should be little to no carpeting in the bedroom .
Dr . Oppenheimer notes that “ remediation of homes is a multifaceted approach . It includes fixing water damage and keeping your house dry to protect from mold .” Pets and bedding should be washed regularly and vacuum cleaners and air conditioners with high-efficiency particulate air ( HEPA ) filters should be used . Dr . Barasch also recommends wearing a mask while vacuuming and leaving the room for a while once you have finished . Increasing ventilation to let in some fresh air is also advisable . Furnaces , chimneys and air conditioning units should be inspected . Both doctors advise that any air quality testing should be done professionally ; doit-yourself kits are not accurate .
Beyond manipulating the environment , patients can turn to pharmacotherapy . Therapeutic help can involve medications such as antihistamines to treat rhinitis and bronchodilators and steroids to treat asthma symptoms . “ Immunotherapy , such as allergy shots or tablets , known as sublingual immunotherapy , can be highly effective , but it requires a commitment ; it can take months to see efficacy ,” says Dr . Oppenheiumer .
Enjoy the time spent with family and friends during the cold-weather months , but be aware of pollutants and allergens that may lurk in your home . Avoid or remove as many of these as possible , and keep up with maintenance to ensure that the air quality in your home is satisfactory . If you are suffering from allergy symptoms , see a doctor . There are many treatments available to keep you feeling well and able to enjoy your home .
PHOTO COURTESY OF SERENETHOS / THINKSTOCK
Regularly checking and cleaning air vents , duct work and filters can reduce the amount of dust , pollutants and allergens in the home . For mold issues , contact a professional .
8 Thursday, February 15, 2018 The Record HE EAL LTH Q U A R TE ER LY / A D VER RTIS SI N G S E C TIO ON ‘Silent Epidemic’: Symptomless, But Damaging Continued from Page 1N PHOTO COURTESY OF JAUN011/THINKSTOCK Screening for hepatitis C is advisable, particularly for baby boomers — one in 30 have it. effects allows individuals to keep their medical status private. Patients sometimes fear workplace discrimination, although guidelines for prevention and control of the infection state that people should not be excluded from work, school, play, childcare, or other settings because they have hepatitis C. CHRONIC HEPATITIS C Hepatitis C is a contagious viral infection that attacks the liver. It is spread primarily through contact with the blood of an infected person. For the vast majority of its victims, it is a chronic disease that can last a life- time and lead to many serious liver prob- lems, including liver cancer and cirrhosis, a scarring of the liver. Hepatitis C is the lead- ing cause of liver transplants. Those inflicted can be symptomless for decades, even as the virus is doing serious damage. It is con- sidered a “silent epidemic.” Hepatitis C differs in many ways from the other hepatitis viruses, including types A and B, which along with hepatitis C are the most common. The three diseases are caused by different viruses and have different modes of transmission. An estimated 2.7 to 3.9 million people in the United States have chronic hepatitis C, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which pro- vides important educational information for the public at www.cdc.gov. The site lists the groups of people most at risk, including:  Current injection drug users;  Past injection drug users, including those who injected only one time or many years ago;  People who received body piercing or tattoos done with non-sterile instruments;  People with known exposures to the hepatitis C virus, such as healthcare workers injured by needlesticks;  Recipients of donated blood, blood products and organs befo &R"6R6V2bG&6֗76'WBp&&RFRVFVB7FFW3"&V6VG2b&B&GV7G0f"6GFr&&V2FR&Vf&Rs"VFǗ62FVG2"W'60v7VBV'2FǗ62f"FWfW&RDRd$tEDTd%U0b7V666W&&R&'&W'2FfGV2&&&WGvVVCRBcRR32WFF22BFW6( BpB66&FrFwwrW6R6vV'6FP6VRUDD22vR6V#fB"&VfRWFG2W&vV06FVVBg&vR46RB6VWrFR66Rb6W0fV7F267&V6VB6VW6&PFW''WFVBv66ffV7B66@v&W&f&6Rf"F6RvF7FFRW&vV26&W6VB&R6W&W0FvW"( F7F'26VRW66FbFW6P7F2vFW"F2vVVP7VB&RFRF'2G"VVW"V6W2FB( FW&P2&V6F7VffW"vRfRvFW&gVF2f&RbVR&RvƖrFv&vR6RFVfVV&WGFW"( FW&P&RVf&VFBFW&WWF2F2&FF7F'2FW'fWvVBw&VRFBf GW7B֗FW2BBB2'FBFVWV֖FGrW&V&R6fW'2f"w0BGG&W76W2&R&V6VFVBBFW&P6VB&RƗGFRF6'WFrFR&VG&G"VVW"FW2FB( &VVFFbW22VFf6WFVB&6@6VFW2frvFW"FvRBVWpW"W6RG'F&FV7Bg&B( WG0B&VFFr6VB&Rv6VB&VwV&ǒ@f7WV6VW'2B"6FFW'2vFvVff6V7'F7VFR"UfFW'06VB&RW6VBG"&&666&V6VG0vV&r6vRf7WV֖r@VfrFR&f"vR6RRfPf6VB7&V6rfVFFFWB6Pg&W6"26Gf6&RgW&6W26W0B"6FFrVG26VB&R7V7BЦVB&FF7F'2Gf6RFB"VƗGFW7Fr6VB&RFR&fW76ǓFЦBזW'6VbG2&RB67W&FR&WBVFrFRVf&VBFVG26GW&F&6FW&FW&WWF2V6ffRVF6F07V62F7F֖W2FG&VB&F2@'&6FF'2B7FW&G2FG&VB7F7F2( ĖVFW&7V62W&w6G2"F&WG2v27V&ƖwVRЦFW&6&RvǒVffV7FfR'WB@&WV&W26֗FVCB6FRF0F6VRVff67( 62G"VVVW"VFRFR7VBvFf֖ǒ@g&VG2GW&rFR6BvVFW"F2'WB&Rv&RbWFG2BW&vV2F@W&W"RfB"&VfR0bFW6R276&RBVWWvFFV6RFV7W&RFBFR"VƗGW"R26F6f7F'bR&R7VbЦfW&rg&W&w7F26VRF7F"FW&R&RG&VFVG2f&RFVWRfVVƖrvVB&RFVW"RD4U%DU5b4U$TUD2D5D4&VwV&ǒ6V6rB6Vr"fVG2GV7Bv&BfFW'26&VGV6RFRV@bGW7BWFG2BW&vV2FRRf"B77VW26F7B&fW76