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Accidentally used a toothbrush of a Hep C family member

Hello, about 7 years ago, my Mother discovered she had Hepatitis C...which she contracted from a blood transfusion she had received before 1992 after giving birth.

I'm just concerned because my Mother and I have the same type of electric toothbrush, in which I accidentally used hers last night.  I discovered halfway through brushing, and immediately rinsed my mouth out with water. I didn't want to use mouth wash, only because I was afraid it would irritate my gums, and increase risk of transmission.  I thoroughly checked my mouth...and had no open wounds, cuts, or agitated areas around my teeth or gums.

I have always known there was a risk of sharing razors, tweezers, nail clippers, and tooth brushes...but I don't know if my particular situation is a high, low, or just a theoretical risk? Should I be very concerned, somewhat concerned, or not concerned at all...and why?

I already feel a little guilty being this concerned because after all, this is my Mother. I talked to her this morning and she understands my situation.  She said she didn't use that toothbrush before she went to bed (she only used it in the morning) so I know that the toothbrush was standing by itself for AT LEAST 12 hours before I used it.  I'm not sure if it was dry or not, but I'll be pragmatic and say that it probably wasn't 100% dry.

Since I'm the youngest, it would be safe to say my Mother's most likely had Hep C my whole life.  I know somewhere in between the 23 years, we must have used the same nail clippers, tweezers, forks, personal items, etc...but I'm not sure if I've ever accidentally used her toothbrush. The whole family got tested after finding out 7 years ago, and we were all cleared, even my Dad. Any advice? I'm starting to freak myself out. When is the earliest I should go to the doctors to test for Hep C antibodies? Thank you so much!


14 Responses
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9648 tn?1290091207
DON'T PANIC. (Sorry, I just love that line.) But seriously, you're getting yourself all worked up and the likelihood of your having just contracted the virus is itsy, bitsy small.

As for being tested . . . you can check google. What I found was that somewhere between three and twelve weeks after exposure antibodies will show up if there are there.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Agree with GreatBird and hope your mom is being monitored by a hepatologist. Liver disease is associated with hepc and typically advances slowly but anyone with hepc who has not treated should have regular blood tests and a liver biopsy.
Trinity
Helpful - 0
87972 tn?1322661239
It’s possible to detect antibodies for Hep C (HCV) as soon as 30 days post-exposure, but it’s best to wait 90 days before testing.

The situation you describe carries a very remote possibility of infection; I really wouldn’t worry to much about it, but better to get checked just to make certain. In the heath care profession, transmission from needle-stick exposure is only about 2-10% per incident; the likelihood of infection from the situation you describe is nearly nil.

Take care, and good luck—

Bill
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
remote chance and call me compulsive but id see a liver specialist and test for antibodies, AND viral load with sensitive pcr AND liver enzymes starting in two weeks
http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=13687089
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Avatar universal
in the remote chance its picked very early u may only need a few shots of peg to squash it but that call needs to be made by a hepatologist
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Avatar universal
Ok your compulsive.........
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Avatar universal
needlesticks are routinely tested quite early Soooo if you plan on testing anyway y wait and do it half a*s. if u dont think testing is necessary then thats another story
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
I have no problem with getting tested, i do feel a toothbrush and no bleeding the odds are very slim. After 30 years of being married and 2 sons i'm sure at some time things must of happened... But all is well

BTW you said "call me compulsive", so i did. :)
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Avatar universal
cdm: BTW you said "call me compulsive", so i did. :)

Thanks for listening :)
Helpful - 0
206807 tn?1331936184
Chances are very slim but, there is that small (very small) possibility.
I have been married for 25+ years and probably had HCV the entire time.
I am not much of a morning person and God only knows how many times I have used my wife’s toothbrush. She is negative.
If you are frightened over the fact that you may have been exposed, get tested. It will be the only thing that will bring you peace of mind.
In the future, be more careful.
Please do not be paranoid around your mother. She will be able to sense it and will only add to the emotional turmoil she is going through.
She needs you to be supportive and not afraid of her
Helpful - 0
233616 tn?1312787196
well don't panic but do get tested, both you and your mother will rest easier knowing.

I have had it 30 years, my son doesn't nor does my husband of ten years...but I couldn't sleep until I had them tested. The worry was not worth it...better to know, whether it's good or bad news.

If you test positive you will still need to do a PCR and RNA test to determine if you actually have the disease. With very low exposure you may test positive, but have actually cleared the virus on your own as 15-30% of cases do spontaneously clear.

Also, unless she bled, and you had open sores in your mouth at the time you used the brush the liklihood of transmission would be almost nil.

so have a happy, worry free thankgiving, and then get tested so you can rest easiest.

You also need a definite answer so that you don't inadvertantly pass this to your own loved ones or children, God forbid.
That's one way to maybe approach your mother about it without offending her...is to say, for your own peace of mind, and also not to yourself be spreading it, you want to be tested again.  

you really do need to relax though because A it sound like your risk was very low, and B. it will take 3-6 months depending on which study you read before you would test positive if you were exposed....after which it would take more weeks to see if you might spontaneously clear....so you will have to learn a little patience will all this or you will go crazy.  One day at a time..
A prayer for your peace.
..

mb

Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Hello, I just wanted to thank everyone for all the advice and peace of mind you have given me.  I really appreciate it.  Hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving...enjoy the left overs!
Helpful - 0
692851 tn?1227679058
It is never unwise to confer with your physician but you chances of getting HepC, unless both you and your mom have bleeding mouthsores, are about as easy as getting run over by a bus in Russia while being in Arizona. HepC is a blood borne pathenogen. You can drink from your moms glass, eat from her fork and butter your toast using her butter knife. The recommendatation that we don't share toothbrushes,razors and nailclippers is because if we do nick ourselve and cause ourselves to bleed we may forget to rinse these articles enough and leave BLOOD residue, which dries and leaves a live active virus antigen on them. Again it never hurts to confer with your physician but don't give yourself an ulcer worrying and remember it is very very rare to find a Russian bus in Arizona.
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Although these answers are 7 years old. But thanx to all of you. Today morning i get to know that my husband brush is mistakenly share by my father because we live in a joint family system. By reading all replys i am 90% satisfy and relax too. But hence i wanna discuss this with dr. If anyone still do help me. It will b very much appreciated. Thank u all
Helpful - 0
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