Hepatitis C is a “silent” illness—you can have it for decades with little or no symptoms. Despite not being flashy and headline grabbing, Hepatitis C is a pretty big deal, and deserves the attention of “scarier” illnesses like HIV. Why? Untreated, the damage Hepatitis C causes the lover can lead to liver failure and worse. And Hepatitis C is highly contagious, only one viral particle is needed to cause infection.

Already, Hepatitis C is more prevalent than you’d think—as many as 1 in 30 Baby Boomers may be infected (unfortunately, they came up in an era where medicine was starting to boom but good safety practices weren’t). It’s recommended that anyone born between 1944 and 1963 get screened for Hep C.

The bad news is Hepatitis C transmission is hard to stop, but the good news is a healthy immune system can beat exposure.

If someone knows they are infected, they shouldn’t share personal items like utensils, toothbrushes, razors, etc. It only takes a cut/injury so small you don’t even notice (easily caused by a toothbrush or razor) to create an opportunity to infect an object with Hepatitis C, and then to pass it on to another. For example, cities with needle exchange programs can drastically reduce HIV transmission—but still struggle to beat Hepatitis C, because it’s just so transmissible. Objects like shared cotton balls, spoons, or just putting your items in the same pool as another person’s is enough to cause transmission (especially paired with drugs weakening the immune system).

Keeping your immune system strong is a good idea in and of itself, but especially important if you work or live in a situation where you may be exposed to Hepatitis C. You can support your immune system by following all the basics you already know: getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising, and taking time to destress.

For an added immune boost, try colloidal silver as a daily supplement.

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