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Avatar universal

Hepatitis Infection From Hair Clippers?

Hi there.   I have seen some similar questions & answers on here, but just wanted to get the latest info on my specific situation.   About two weeks ago, I went to a barber in downtown San Francisco on my lunch hour to get a quick trim.  I had never been to this particular barber before, so I am not sure of their standards as far as cleaning the instruments after each customer.   Anyway, while the woman was using the electric clippers on the back of my neck, she pushed a little too hard and left a thin red abrasion in my skin.  I looked at it in the mirror when I got back to the office and it did not seem to be bleeding.  Later that night, I had a friend look at it and she said that it didn't look like the skin had been broken.   It eventually went away completely within a few days.   I have read things that say this type of exposure is nothing to worry about but then again I have read that sharing razors and other personal grooming instruments is a risk.  Part of me is saying that I am making a mountain out of a molehill, but the other part of me is saying "yeah, but what if...".   One thing that concerns me are the reports about people who have been infected but don't have any of the known routes of infection.

I tend to be a worrier and am considering getting tested.   Do you think that this situation warrants testing?   If I were to go for a PCR DNA Qualitative test, how long should I wait before having it done?   I have seen answers to this range from 3 weeks to 6 weeks.   Thanks in advance for any answers/advice!
14 Responses
766573 tn?1365170066
To answer your question based on what you said it does not sound as if your situation necessitates testing:

1) I looked at it in the mirror when I got back to the office and it did ♦not♦ seem to be bleeding.  

2) Later that night, I had a friend look at it and she said that it didn't look like the skin had been broken.
___________________
I do not think you are making a mountain out of a molehill because while I personally tend to think transmission of this sort is remote I would by lying if I said I do not keep my own shears, razors, clippers and trimmers separate from the rest of the family. Plus, almost all HCV literature advises against using other people's personal items such as that.
______________________
How long does it take for HCV tests....

My doctor's office usually has results in 4 days or so even though they always say it could take up to ten days.  I guess it depends on the lab and/or maybe even the type of facility you get tested.

But hey, since May is Hepatitis C Awareness Month a lot of places are testing HCV for free. Now might be a good time to check out the places in your city on the Internet & see where you can go.
Avatar universal
This talks about the wiating period before getting tested:


http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Hepatitis-C/question-about-the-HCV-virus/show/1733625

Avatar universal
  I am an ex-drug user, and know tons of people who have Hep C, but they all used needles, as well. My husband did catch his Hep C form a blood transfusion, in the 80's, but they started screening the blood for Hep in 1992.
   Since only 2% of the population has Hep C, and many, many people we know, go to the Barber-Shop, my educated guess is that if this transmission was common, we would be seeing a higher percentage of the general population with Hep C.
  I'm a worrier also though, so if it makes you feel better, you can get tested in 3 months (who knows, you may have gotten it years ago, at another Barber-Shop) and then you could always just buy some clippers, and do it at home, so you would feel safer~  I would never go get a pedicure or a manicure, and didn't like it when my son got a bumpy red razor rash, from some clippers at a neighborhood barber-shop...yuck
1747881 tn?1546179478
"If I were to go for a PCR DNA Qualitative test, how long should I wait before having it done?"

NUCLEIC ACID DETECTION

The diagnosis of HCV infection can also be made through detection of HCV RNA using reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) techniques. HCV RNA can be detected within one to two weeks after exposure to the virus, weeks before the onset of ALT elevations or the appearance of anti-HCV. In some patients, the detection of HCV RNA may be the only evidence of HCV infection.

http://www.aafp.org/afp/1999/0101/p79.html
Avatar universal
Thanks to everyone who answered my question.   Good information and it definitely calmed me down.  I wish you all happiness and joy.
Avatar universal
You touched on an area that I thought only I had wondered about.  Since I got HepC from sharing a cocaine straw (for snorting) I would tend to think that hair cutting trimmers have the potential to transmit.  People get pimples on their heads, scabs from scratches and bumps etc, so if a trimmer made contact with that abrasion (and you also had an abrasion) I would think it is possible.   It might be very low, but I do feel it is possible.   Not to make you panic, but I would still get tested every 6 months or so.  I am going to start requesting they sterilize the trimmer guards and combs in front of me for each visit just to be safe.  The good news is that HepC is curable now!   I was treated 6 years ago and have been HepC free ever since!
Avatar universal
Thank you for your input. My Doctor took the time to explain to us about the cocaine straw risk factor: apparently you dont even have to see visible blood (meaning it could be microscopic) on the straw, and also, that hep C lives on a straw for at least 14 hrs up until 4 days.
163305 tn?1333672171
I looked at your profile.
In the last week you've posted on several medhelp forums on issues of extreme anxiety dealing from HIV issues to getting rabies.
Perhaps your anxiety is the issue you need to address.
Avatar universal
On the other posts I left, I was trying to answer some other people's questions, not asking about myself.  Just trying to be helpful like others here have been for me.  You are correct about anxiety though - I am working on lowering mine through different several methods.  Since you bring it up, I would encourage everyone to find a way to vent any stress and worry that you have.  Some people deal with it better naturally than others, some need a bit of help. Let's face it, we're talking about some scary stuff here.  Be it exercise, meditation, prayer, proper nutrition, being around people who make you happy or seeing a mental health professional of some kind, I think there is nothing to be lost by trying these things that are proven to lower stress and worry.  Everyone has worries and anxiety in their lives, but you can't let it take over your life.  Along with the bad things in life, there are even more good things - stop to enjoy them now and then.
163305 tn?1333672171
Sorry about that.
We seem to get a lot of OCD types here who will post one nervous question on the STD forum, one on HIV and another here, for example.
It's made me suspicious and I don't read everyone's posts.
Of course you are correct about anxiety.

OH
Avatar universal
No worries OH.    I do understand what you mean about multiple posts from people who are seeking constant reassurance.  I'm just hoping what I said can help those people in some way.  We're all in this together as fellow human beings and if you can make someone else's life even a little bit better, you are making our world better.  It all adds up!  : )
Avatar universal
the same thing happened to  me, except the clippers cut my skin, causing bleeding and i specifically saw it do the same thing to someone else before me where it cut him as well
I have swollen lymph nodes, sneezing, coughing, congested nose, diaherrea, and I'm tired all day.
Should I get tested? If so what for? When should I go?
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