The San Quentin News “Health and Wellness Corner” column runs when articles are submitted for publication. A Centerforce health professional will answer questions that you submit about health issues. Feel free to ask questions about any medical concern that you have and it may be answered so that everyone can benefit. Put your questions in a U-Save-Em envelope addressed to: Health and Wellness Corner, Centerforce (Education Dept). Your name and number will be kept confidential.
In this edition we will address Hepatitis Vaccine Myths:
By DR. JULIE LIFSHAY and The Peer Health Educators of San Quentin
Hepatitis A, B and C are separate viruses that cause inflammation of the liver. Each is transmitted from person to person through body fluids and behaviors: feces (doo-doo) in your mouth (Hepatitis A); unprotected sex (Hepatitis B); blood to blood contact (Hepatitis B and C).
True or False? “Vaccinations are the same as treatment.” False. Treatment is taking medication or other substances to help your body fight an illness once you become ill. Vaccinations are given to people who have never had the illness to help them from ever getting it.
True or False? “You can get infected with the virus from a vaccine.” False. A vaccine helps to protect our bodies from getting infected with the virus. A vaccine usually has a small amount of dead or inactive virus in it. Dead or inactive virus is not capable of infecting you. Rather, the dead virus stimulates your immune system to build up antibodies that are prepared to fight anything that looks like the dead virus. This tricks your body to be prepared for the live virus. Should you ever come in contact with the live virus in the future, your body will already have the antibodies to be able to fight off the virus before you actually become infected with it.
True or False? “There is no vaccine available for Hepatitis C.” True. Currently, the only way to protect yourself from getting Hepatitis C is to not expose yourself to the blood of someone infected with Hepatitis C. However, there are vaccines available to protect you from getting infected with Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B. These vaccines are given in two shots for Hepatitis A and three shots for Hepatitis B over a six-month period.
True or False? “The vaccines for Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B only last about 10 years; after that you need to get vaccinated again.” False. Studies have shown that the vaccines for Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B may be effective for up to 20 years or more.
True or False? “The CDCR will not give you the vaccine for Hepatitis A or Hepatitis B.” False. The vaccinations for Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B are available at San Quentin. You need to put in a sick call slip and request to be vaccinated.
If you have questions pertaining to this or any previous Health and Wellness Corner article, forward them to S.Q. News c/o Centerforce. Be on the lookout for more of our Hepatitis Myth Buster Series.
The organization’s web site is www.Centerforce.org