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Hepatitis C the Mistaken Virus

Cynthia Nickerson, Health Communication Specialist

MWH Public Relations is proud to announce that our new Health Communication Specialist Cynthia Nickerson was keynote speaker at the World Hepatitis Day Luncheon presented by Robin’s Haven of Hope today, Wednesday, July 31, 2013, at the United Way of Greater Houston.

Cynthia is a Hepatitis C survivor. During today’s remarks, Cynthia shared her dramatic story of undergoing treatment while working as News Anchor in Florida. Before her diagnosis and treatment, Cynthia was one of millions of Americans living with Hepatitis C, but unaware of the disease, as it presents no symptoms for years. Cynthia emphasized the importance of baby boomers getting tested for this disease known as a silent killer.

About Hepatitis C

Viral hepatitis is a silent epidemic in the U.S. affecting people of all ages, races and ethnicities. Unfortunately, most of the 5 million Americans living with viral hepatitis do not know they are infected, placing them at greater risk for severe, even fatal complications.

Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver, most often caused by a virus. Hepatitis C is a contagious liver disease caused by the Hepatitis C virus. Hepatitis C infection sometimes results in only mild illness but  most often becomes a serious, long-term condition that can lead to liver failure or liver cancer if not treated.

Hepatitis C is spread primarily through contact with the blood of an infected person. This can happen from sharing contaminated needles to inject drugs or even through sharing needles to inject cosmetic substances or steroids, sharing blood testing equipment such as glucose monitors, through sexual contact, childbirth, even sharing items such as razors, nail clippers or toothbrushes.

Hepatitis C is a very slow growing virus. Many people do not have symptoms until 20 or 30 years after infection and even them, symptoms may be mistaken for other health problems such as cold or flu.

Think about your life 20 or 30 years ago. You may  not have engaged in obvious risky behavior such as injecting drugs, but perhaps you were at summer camp as a child and forgot your toothbrush and happily shared one with a friend. Maybe you shared nail clippers with a college roommate. It takes a microscopic amount of blood to spread infection.

You can find out whether you are infected with Hepatitic C through a simple blood test at your doctor or health department. There are effective treatments available, some through clinical trials which means at no cost to you. Find out more about Hepatitis C through the CDC (http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/Publicinfo.htm).

About MWH Health Communications Division

Cynthia Nickerson, who holds a Master of Science in Health Communication, is a key part of the new MWHPR Health Communication initiatives. Cynthia assists in the creation of communication solutions that lead to public awareness and understanding of health care issues. Initiatives include coordinating communications campaigns for corporations, nonprofits, individuals, businesses and churches who want to market health and wellness programs that empower individuals to take action to improve their health and ultimately help reduce costs.

MWHPR has begun a new My Way to Wellness campaign, focusing on communicating wellness initiatives to the public. For more details, call 281.213.9554, 713.840.6392 or email info@mwhpublicrelations.com.

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