Hepatitis Forums

Hepatitis C Prevention, Transmission and Testing => Am I Infected? => Topic started by: OCDworrygirl on August 17, 2020, 09:52:14 am

Title: Help ease my mind
Post by: OCDworrygirl on August 17, 2020, 09:52:14 am
I have OCD and am being treated (just not feeling so great yet) most of my fears are about contamination and spreading things to others.  I was at the hospital a few weeks back and had to use the restroom to collect a urine sample.  I was wiping down the area with a wet paper towel (half wet half dry) to clean up the seat before sitting.  On the inside where i could not see visually I went over an area of dried blood. I immediately got rid of the towel and washed my hands twice and ran out of the bathroom.  I did have many sore red cracks on my hands from OCD washing.  Is there any risk of exposure here.  The DR basically laughed at me and made me feel dumb.  I am now living my life so afraid to go anywhere or spread anything to others in case i did contract anything.  I hardly touch my kids and am afraid to serve them food make them water cups etc because i worry that at any point i can scratch myself or my fingers could crack and i wouldn't know.  I am always afraid of item to item to item to item contamination of blood i cannot see but could possibly be there.  I am working through my OCD issues with Drs and therapy however I could use some reassurance on wether it was risk of exposure, or even if i did contract something would i spread it to my family with every scratch, crack, etc.  Thank you for taking the time to read it.  I appreciate anything that gives me an educational way to look at this. 
Title: Re: Help ease my mind
Post by: Lynn K on August 17, 2020, 04:19:42 pm
There have been no known examples of transmission of hep c or anything else for that matter in the manner you have described. Hep c infected blood must enter the blood stream of an uninfected person in some way. The most common manner of transmission would be through the sharing of IV drug needles with a person who is infected with hep c. Even a health care worker who should experience a accidental needle stick involving a patient with known hep c has only a 1.2% odds of contracting Hep c.

Also bear in mind less than 4% of the US population has hep c with about 2/3’s of those being male. So your looking at about less than 1% of the female population.

Household transmission is extremely rare to non existent. Per the US CDC:

“Hepatitis C is not spread by sharing eating utensils, breastfeeding, hugging, kissing, holding hands, coughing, or sneezing. It is also not spread through food or water.”


No you are not at risk of having contracted hep c. Continue with your counseling for anxiety.

Best of luck
Title: Re: Help ease my mind
Post by: OCDworrygirl on August 17, 2020, 05:46:31 pm
Thank you for your response!  My biggest worry was the fact that i had cracks on my fingers including one at the base where the middle finger meets the palm on the hand i was wiping with.  I was unsure if the blood on the towel touching that spot could have counted as exposure.  As I sit and question if every bandaid on my cracked fingers is leaking blood when i wash my hands, feeling like every hand towel is contaminated somehow from a crack in my finger, worry about talking after i bite my lip, worry that i scratch myself every time i have an itch and gosh forbid i have a hangnail in the car.   I worry about everything I have come into contact with if i see a scratch and even worry about shaving in the shower!  I dread my own menstrual cycle as it throws me into a complete breakdown!  I think to myself, people who live with hep c every day can't live their lives like this!  I think i need to understand it more to feel better about it!   I know its my OCD at work, but I also want to make sure I am doing everything i can to protect anyone else just in case. 
Title: Re: Help ease my mind
Post by: Lynn K on August 17, 2020, 10:23:45 pm
Ok so again first thing

Less than 4% of the population has hep C and less than 1% are women

You don't know it was blood and even if it was it would be low likelihood that blood came from someone with hep C

Any wound you have would need to be an open wound that is wet, fresh and actively bleeding.

For comparison again I would mention the low odds of a health care worker experiencing an accidental needle stick involving a patient known to be infected with hep c those odds are only 1.8%

In your case you don't know if it was blood, you don’t know if it was blood if it had viable hep c virus, there is no route of entry unless you somehow pushed that blood into your open wet fresh weeping injury. And even if you did somehow randomly encounter hep c infected blood and somehow forced that blood deep into your blood stream your odds would still be less than that health care worker. Seriously your risk are infinitesimally small to the point of being essentially nonexistent.

Before I was cured of hep c back when there wasn’t really an effective treatment for most people I took care to avoid exposing others to my blood should I have an injury. I worked in manufacturing and received a couple of bloody injuries. When a coworker would offer help I took great care not to expose them to my injury. Other than that it really didn’t occupy my thoughts except for the worsening condition of the health of my liver. I was wondering if I would live to see my 60’s when I was diagnosed with liver cirrhosis two months before my 50th birthday.

Again Hep c is not easily transmitted. If it were much more than less than 4% of the US population would be infected. Household transmission is rare. Even sexual transmission in the context of long term monogamous couples is rare.

Hep C is most often transmitted by sharing of IV drug needles and having a blood transfusion or organ transplant prior to 1989 when hep C antibody testing was developed and the blood supply secured.

Just to add with the new medicines approved since 2014 hep c is today curable for the majority of patients

Unless you are engaging in one of the known high risk activities listed on the CDC web site link I sent previously you are not at any known risk of contracting hep c.

Keep working on your OCD and anxiety issues the actual health problem you do have. Please try to stop wasting your emotional energy on an illness that you are not at risk to contract unless you start using IV drugs or engage in rough sexual practices like BDSM or blood sports or have a tattoo or other medical procedure performed in a back alley unlicensed facility or being born to a mother infected with hep c or had a blood transfusion prior to 1989. Even if you should contract hep c by one of those methods hep c today is essentially curable.

Best of luck
Title: Re: Help ease my mind
Post by: OCDworrygirl on October 22, 2020, 10:54:09 am
I want to thank you again as rereading this thread has helped me through some low days with the OCD.  I have continued to progress with the OCD and I am looking forward to putting my worries to rest FINALLY.  It has been 12.5 week - I can get an antibody test now and have it be reliable?  This is an amazing thing that you do for people who are worried!

Title: Re: Help ease my mind
Post by: Lynn K on October 22, 2020, 02:22:50 pm
Yes the antibody test should be accurate 12 weeks after a potential exposure to hep c unless you are immune compromised if for example you have an existing HIV infection or are undergoing chemotherapy which could delay the development of enough antibodies to reach detectable levels up to 6 months post exposure. However, if you have a normal immune system yes the 12 week wait should be adequate.

But again from what you described as your concerning exposure event it is such low odds of having contracted hep c by what you described your likelyhood of having contracted hep c in that manner is essentially non-existent. The antibody test would be really only for your own peace of mind

Best of luck