Who is at risk of getting hepatitis?

You are at a higher risk of getting hepatitis if you:

  • Share needles to take drugs.
  • Practice unprotected oral and/or anal sex.
  • Have many sex partners.
  • Drink significant amounts of alcohol.
  • Have poor nutrition.
  • Work in a hospital or nursing home.
  • Receive long-term kidney dialysis.
  • Travel to areas with poor sanitation.

How can I protect myself against viral hepatitis?

There are many ways you can reduce your chances of getting hepatitis:

  • Get the vaccines for hepatitis A and hepatitis B.
  • Use a condom during sex.
  • Don't share needles to take drugs.
  • Practice good personal hygiene such as thorough hand-washing with soap and water.
  • Don't use an infected person's personal items.
  • Take precautions when getting any tattoos or body piercings.
  • Take precaution when traveling to areas of the world with poor sanitation. (Make sure to get your vaccines.)
  • Drink bottled water when traveling.

It is very important that you take these preventive measures if you participate in risky behaviors. Take preventive steps, too, if you work in places like a nursing homes, dormitories, daycare centers, or restaurants where there you have extended contact with other people and a risk of coming into contact with the disease.

Is there a vaccine for hepatitis?

There are vaccines for hepatitis A and hepatitis B that are available in the U.S. There is no vaccine for hepatitis C. Since you can only get hepatitis D if you have hepatitis B, getting the vaccine against B should protect you against hepatitis D. There is no FDA approved vaccine against hepatitis E, but vaccines against hepatitis E exist overseas (for example, in China).

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