I collaborated with Quest Diagnostics to create this post.
This may be the most important post you read all month.
I was heading out to get some groceries the other day and a funeral procession was in progress on the way. I pulled over to the side as they crossed the street in front of me and happened to look in my rearview mirror. Walking along the road was an elderly gentleman. There weren’t any houses in sight and there was no telling how long he had been walking. He looked tired and I could tell he was by the way he dragged his feet. My first thought was that he shouldn’t be walking in this heat at his age. My second thought was that I should do the right thing and take him to where he needed to go.
I did not go with my second thought. Times have changed. When I was growing up, my dad always picked up hitchhikers and some even stayed weeks with us before moving on. And then I naturally did the same thing. For baby boomers, soliciting free rides was a part of the thrill of the times. We got to meet others who had some great stories to share. They usually always had a guitar in hand and I always loved listening to them play. None of us thought a thing in the world of allowing a stranger into our cars or homes. That was a time of innocence for me. We went where we wanted to go, did what we wanted to do, had our own schedule and life during this time was what it was and it was great. I have the most wonderful childhood memories.
In today’s world we all know that it unsafe to pick up hitchhikers but what you might not know is that it’s equally unsafe to put off getting checked for Hepatitis C. If you grew up during the times that I did, there’s a big chance that you could be infected and not even know it because Hep C is silent. You could go years without showing any symptoms.
May is Hepatitis Awareness Month and every year I try to remind all of you of the importance of being checked as soon as possible because the percentage of baby boomers having Hep C is really high. In fact, 1 in 30 baby boomers has hepatitis C and most don’t even know it. If you were born between 1945 and 1965, your chances of having this disease are higher than others, in fact it is 5 times higher. Call your doctor and schedule a 1-time blood test today.
A lot of people think you can only get Hep C from infected blood due to risky behavior like injection drug use, but you could also have gotten it from something as common as getting a tattoo or sharing a razor. Receiving a blood transfusion – alone or as part of a surgical procedure – before 1992 is also a risk factor. And remember the first time you got your ears pierced with a needle and a potato? I did that! That has consequences today because we all shared the same needle when we decided to pierce each other’s ears.
Hepatitis C is a potentially life-threatening liver disease, if caught in time, Hepatitis C is curable. 95% to 99% of people who have Hep C are cured with proper treatment. I made the decision to be tested years ago because I wanted to put my mind at ease. Do you really want to have to worry about having a liver transplant or liver cancer (and putting your family through that) or are you ready to become the responsible individual I know you all are? Take this short quiz to see if you are at risk.
Check out the below pamphlet which can help you prepare for a conversation with your doctor about Hepatitis C and visit KnowAboutHepC.com for more information.