Public Health Emerging Issues – April 19, 2018

PREVENT HEPATITIS A WITH VACCINE

  • Food handlers aren’t at a greater risk of getting hepatitis A, but they are at a greater risk of spreading the disease than others. Food handlers should consider getting a hepatitis A vaccine as a precaution.
    • Hepatitis A is spread through the fecal to oral route. That means any time stool infected with hepatitis A comes in contact with food, the person eating that food could become infected.
    • Food handlers could spread the virus through food if they practice poor hygiene, potentially passing the disease to hundreds of people during just one shift.
  • How can food handlers reduce their risk of spreading this disease?
    • Get the hepatitis A vaccination.
      • It’s safe, effective and available at Mesa County Public Health (MCPH), 510 29 ½ Road in Grand Junction.
    • Never work while you’re ill with fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps or diarrhea.
    • Practice good handwashing techniques, especially after using the restroom.
      • Use warm water and lather hands with soap.
      • Scrub hands together for 30 seconds, paying close attention to nails and cuticles.
      • Rinse hands well and dry hands with a paper towel.
      • Use the paper towel to turn off the faucet, so clean hands don’t touch the faucet.
    • Wear gloves when handling or preparing ready-to-eat foods.
      • A fresh pair of gloves must be used each time a food handler uses the restroom, whenever gloves have been used to touch items other than food and after touching raw proteins.
        • Gloves are not a substitute for handwashing. Wash your hands before using gloves.
  • What should everyone else do to prevent hepatitis A?
    • Residents are also encouraged to get the hepatitis A vaccination at MCPH.
      • If you’re traveling out of the country, contact our clinic at 970-248-6900 to find out which vaccines you need. Hepatitis A might be one of them.
      • Practice good handwashing.
      • Wash fruits and vegetables before you eat them.
      • Cook meat and fish to the correct temperatures.
  • Hepatitis A can be in your system for two weeks before you show symptoms, making it even easier to spread. It’s difficult to prevent the spread a disease if you don’t know you have it, so it’s important to get vaccinated.
  • The MCPH Clinic serves all patients, regardless of ability to pay and accepts all major health insurance plans including Medicaid, Medicare and the Children’s Health Insurance Plan. We have programs for those without insurance, as well.
    • Office hours are Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to noon. Call 970-248-6900 to make an appointment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *