Hepatitis Forums

Hepatitis C Prevention, Transmission and Testing => Am I Infected? => Topic started by: worried987654 on March 14, 2019, 09:43:33 am

Title: Anxiety or real concern?
Post by: worried987654 on March 14, 2019, 09:43:33 am
I am hoping that someone can help ease my worries, which I’m sure are 99% fueled by anxiety.
The other day I went to get my routine allergy shot. I tend to swell up at the injection site, so they give me an ice pack to apply to the site during my waiting time (they make you wait 30 minutes after injection to leave, in case you were to have an allergic reaction).
After awhile, I moved and realized that my injection site was bleeding. There were several spots of blood on the ice pack too. I got a bandaid from the receptionist and then continued my waiting time.
As I sat there, I got increasingly more worried that either it wasn’t my blood on the ice pack (I didn’t really look it over when they handed it to me, I just applied it to the back of my arm like I was supposed to), or that someone else could have bled on the ice pack previously and not told them and it wouldn’t have been cleaned. I also know that they don’t typically hand ice packs out the allergy shot patients…I watched the next 3-4 people get their injections and no one else got an ice pack, so they may be only infrequently used?
I know that if it had been a “superficial” wound, I would be at very little to no risk, however I worry more since it was an injection into the back of my arm, and so that is a little deeper than “superficial,” in my untrained brain.
I also know that the chances of someone with hepatitis bleeding onto that ice pack are low, but I guess I just needed to voice my worries and see what someone else has to say. I did mention it to my primary care doctor and at first he didn’t think I had an open wound and was just using an ice pack and said that wasn’t a concern…then he realized I was bleeding and said that was different, but then settled on “I’ve never heard of anyone contracting anything in this way, just make sure to get a bandaid next time.” It didn’t really ease my worries too well…
Title: Re: Anxiety or real concern?
Post by: lporterrn on March 14, 2019, 11:21:15 am
I am glad that you are open to seeing this is an issue of needless anxiety. Rest assured, you have no chance of contracting anything in this matter.
Title: Re: Anxiety or real concern?
Post by: worried987654 on March 14, 2019, 11:57:23 am
Thank you so much for your quick response. Once I realized that my injection site could have potentially been exposed to something, I started freaking out and didn't know what to do. Thank you for helping me lay my anxiety to rest.
Title: Re: Anxiety or real concern?
Post by: worried987654 on March 15, 2019, 06:45:53 pm
On second thought, would it be possible for you to tell me why this is of no risk? I’d like to file the info away so that I never have to worry about anything like this again unless it’s a real concern.. As they say, knowledge is power.
Title: Re: Anxiety or real concern?
Post by: Lynn K on March 15, 2019, 11:33:52 pm
Hep c infected blood must enter the blood stream. The most common method of transmission is by sharing IV drug needles with someone infected with hep c. Another way is to have had a blood transfusion before 1990  when antibody testing was developed for hepatitis C and the blood supply was secured. Less than 3% of the population is infected with hep c and that number is declining thanks to the new highly effective treatments so the odds of randomly encountering someone with hepatitis c is relatively low. Add that to the odds they were in the same clinic for a blood draw and had bled earlier on your ice pack. Then that blood must enter your blood stream. Even in the case of a health care worker who experiences an accidental needle stick  involving a patient with known hepatitis C the odds of  transmission are only about 1.8% . 

For this to have been a risk several things would’ve had to have occurred. First one of the small population of people with hep c would have had to have been in the clinic recently. They would have to have bled on an ice pack. The clinic did not clean the ice pack. You were given that ice pack while the hep c virus was still viable. Then that blood would have had to been somehow pushed into your bloodstream which would not happen in the manner that you described.

Basically your risk of  transmission are extremely small to the point of being non existent.

Just to add hep c is today very curable for the majority of patients. So even if at some point in your life you should become infected you can be cured quickly with relative ease. So even if somehow you should become infected you still have little to worry about.

If you still have concerns you could get a hepatitis c antibody blood test in 12 weeks to see if you test positive although I very much doubt you would test positive. A better option might be if you continue to have fears about the remote possibility of contracting very curable illnesses and as you have said yourself that you have anxiety you should consider getting counseling for anxiety or maybe getting a prescription for anti anxiety medicine to treat the health problem it seem you may actually have. It could greatly improve your quality of life.

I hope this clears things up for you best of luck
Title: Re: Anxiety or real concern?
Post by: lporterrn on March 16, 2019, 02:29:16 pm
In addition to what Lynn said, there has never been a documented case of hep C being transmitted this way. If it was this easy, there would be a lot more of it, which there isn't.

Even health care staff who have needle sticks after the needle has come in to contact with a person known to have hep C rarely get hep C.